5:07 PM 11/27/2017 – Mr. Trump and our “Collective Narcissism”

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Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Forget Facebook, Twitter or Google it’s the internet’s ‘dark triad’ that we need to protect ourselves against – CSO Online
12:18 PM 11/27/2017 Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal The Hill
Kushner attorney says Senate panel relaxed Monday document deadline – Politico
Russia probes in Congress likely to spill into 2018 – The Detroit News
A key witness in the Russia probe had ‘a lengthy conversation’ with Trump at Mar-a-Lago – Business Insider
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: Russia Is Not the ‘No. 1 Threat’or Even Among the Top 5 – The Nation.
1:21 PM 11/27/2017 Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself Washington Post
Russia investigations in Congress are likely to spill into 2018 – Stars and Stripes
1. Trump Investigation – Mike Flynn from mikenova (9 sites): Mike Flynn – Google News: Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal – ABC News
Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal – ABC News
Facebook defends advertising ‘principles’ after Russia, discrimination – USA TODAY
US elections and russia – Google News: The long shadow of Russia – The Hindu
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Putin and American political process – Google News: Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks – Arab American News
trump and intelligence community – Google News: Trump Is Better Than Obama on Cybersecurity Rules, ACLU Says – Newsweek
crime and terror – Google News: Op-ed in PA daily claims Israel behind Sinai terror attack – The Times of Israel
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Is Iran Trying to Inflate Yemens Currency as a Tool of Warfare?
Palmer Report: Was James Woolsey wearing a wire at Mar-a-Lago this weekend when he met with Donald Trump?
Palmer Report: Donald Trump goes completely berserk
Russian Intelligence services – Google News: Accused Ancaster hacker to appear in California court Tuesday in plea hearing – TheSpec.com
Ex-Russian minister says he thought bag with $2 million cash was gift of alcohol
Deutsche Welle: DW.com – Europe: Vladimir Putin’s Russia has become a ‘toxic state’
After Tumultuous Week, Germanys Politics Look to the Familiar
Apocalyptic Scenario: Russian Diplomat Warns US Against Korean Military Exercises – International Business Times

 

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trump psychological assessment – Google News: ‘Collective narcissism’ a key factor in Brexit vote – BreakingNews.ie


BreakingNews.ie
‘Collective narcissism’ a key factor in Brexit vote
BreakingNews.ie
An outbreak of “collective narcissism” was a key factor that led the British population to vote for Brexit, psychologists claim. … In addition, an assessment of personality types showed that people who felt threatened by immigrants fell into three 

and more »

 trump psychological assessment – Google News

Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Forget Facebook, Twitter or Google it’s the internet’s ‘dark triad’ that we need to protect ourselves against – CSO Online


CSO Online
Forget Facebook, Twitter or Google it’s the internet’s ‘dark triad’ that we need to protect ourselves against
CSO Online
Thanks to the ongoing Senate hearings on election hacking we are learning about how the Russians interfered with our presidential elections by sponsoring numerous fake social media accounts and even placing advertisements on Facebook, YouTube and 

and more »

 Russian propaganda on social media – Google News

12:18 PM 11/27/2017 Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal The Hill

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill Flynns Turkish Delight: How, Why, and When He Reversed His Policy Positions on Turkey Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up … Continue reading“12:18 PM 11/27/2017 – Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill”
Kushner attorney says Senate panel relaxed Monday document deadline – Politico


Politico
Kushner attorney says Senate panel relaxed Monday document deadline
Politico
Jared Kushner’s attorney said the Senate Judiciary Committee scrapped a Monday deadline for President Donald Trump’s son-in-law to turn over documents the panel wants for its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Senate panel drops deadline for Jared Kushner to hand over Wikileaks emailsNew York Daily News
Jared Kushner Delays Senate Deadline for Documents in Russia Investigation BattleNewsweek
Kushner team disputes today’s document turnover deadlineAxios
The Hill –Mother Jones
all 9 news articles »
Russia probes in Congress likely to spill into 2018 – The Detroit News


The Detroit News
Russia probes in Congress likely to spill into 2018
The Detroit News
Washington Some Republicans are hoping lawmakers will soon wrap up investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election that have dragged on for most of the year. But with new details in the probe emerging almost daily, that seems unlikely.

and more »

A key witness in the Russia probe had ‘a lengthy conversation’ with Trump at Mar-a-Lago – Business Insider


Business Insider
A key witness in the Russia probe had ‘a lengthy conversation’ with Trump at Mar-a-Lago
Business Insider
Franks confirmed late last month that Mueller’s team had interviewed Woolsey about the meeting. He said Woolsey and his wife had been in touch with the FBI since before Mueller began overseeing the bureau’s Russia investigation in May. “Ambassador …

and more »

trump as danger to National Security – Google News: Russia Is Not the ‘No. 1 Threat’or Even Among the Top 5 – The Nation.


The Nation.
Russia Is Not the ‘No. 1 Threat’or Even Among the Top 5
The Nation.
1 threat to American national security. The primary explanation for this transformed perception, which began under President George W. Bush, became more insistent during the Obama Administration, and is now a virtual bipartisan axiom, lies in 

and more »

 trump as danger to National Security – Google News

1:21 PM 11/27/2017 Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself Washington Post

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post The pathetic neediness of Trump – Washington Post Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: report – Raw Story McCain: Trump Has No ‘Principles and Beliefs,’ Just ‘Takes Advantage of … Continue reading“1:21 PM 11/27/2017 – Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post”
Russia investigations in Congress are likely to spill into 2018 – Stars and Stripes


Stars and Stripes
Russia investigations in Congress are likely to spill into 2018
Stars and Stripes
Three congressional committees are investigating Russian interference and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was in any way involved. The panels have obtained thousands of pages of documents from Trump’s campaign and other officials, and …

and more »

1. Trump Investigation – Mike Flynn from mikenova (9 sites): Mike Flynn – Google News: Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal – ABC News


The Hill
Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal
ABC News
The lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn met Monday morning with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, the latest indication that both sides are discussing a possible plea deal, ABC News has …
Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller dealThe Hill
Flynn’s lawyer meets with Mueller’s teamNew York Post
This Week in Washington: Is Flynn Ready to Flip in Russia Probe?Vogue.com
MSNBC –Metro US –Washington Post –New York Times
all 126 news articles »

 Mike Flynn – Google News

 1. Trump Investigation – Mike Flynn from mikenova (9 sites)

Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal – ABC News


POLITICO Magazine
Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal
ABC News
The lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn met Monday morning with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team the latest indication that both sides are discussing a possible plea deal, ABC News 
Turkey’s Torrid Love Affair With Michael FlynnPOLITICO Magazine
Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller dealThe Hill
Mueller and NY AG Schneiderman teaming up on Mike Flynn as Turkey hangs him out to dryRaw Story 
The Week MagazineHuffPost
 Napa Valley Register The Inquisitr –New York Times

all 160 128 news articles »
Facebook defends advertising ‘principles’ after Russia, discrimination – USA TODAY


USA TODAY
US elections and russia – Google News: The long shadow of Russia – The Hindu


The Hindu
The long shadow of Russia
The Hindu
The situation snowballed into a crisis post-election, as Mr. Trump became the first President to be suspected of having coordinated with a foreign government to manipulate a U.S. election. The fundamental questions are whether he colluded with the  
‘Russia, Russia, Russia’: Trump Is Getting Bored Of ‘Phony’ ProbeNewsweek
Trump denounces allegations of Russian election meddling as ‘phony Democrat excuse for losing’Los Angeles Times
Trump attacks ‘Democrat excuse for losing election, Russia, Russia, Russia’ during return from Thanksgiving breakWashington Examiner
Trend News AgencyThe Hill (blog)Blasting NewsNew York Times
all 138 
Trump’s Russian SchizophreniaPOLITICO Magazine

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 US elections and russia – Google News

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Egyptian security forces targeted militants in the Sinai peninsula after an attack on a mosque in a local village killed 305 people, the New York Times reported. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledged to get vengeance against a group of 25-30 armed men that Egyptian authorities said carried an Islamic State flag during their massacre at the mosque in Bir al-Abed. According to Egyptian security officials, warplanes struck vehicles associated with the fighters. The attack is the latest escalation in the long-brewing conflict in Sinai, where the Egyptian military has struggled to contain an insurgency that took hold after the 2013 coup in which President Sisi took power.

Pakistans justice minister will step down after accusations of blasphemy against him sparked protests and violence from Islamic fundamentalist groups, the Times reported. After Zahid Hamid, the law minister, attempted to change religious language in an oath that Pakistani lawmakers take upon entering parliament, protests erupted that have paralyzed Islamabad, Pakistans capital, for weeks. Following military-led negotiations, Hamid agreed to step down, and a hard-line Islamic party promised not to issue an edict of blasphemy against him, an accusation that has led to killings in the past.

Pope Francis met the head of Myanmars military during an official visit, as the pontiff faces pressure to address the violence against the Rohingya Muslim population, Reuters reported. The pope discussed religious freedom and the countrys transition to democracy with General Min Aung Hlaing. Advisers have warned the pope against even using the word Rohingya, as Myanmars government says they are not a separate ethnic group. The pope will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmars civilian leader, on Tuesday.

Michael Flynns lawyers told President Donald Trumps legal team they were halting their correspondence about the special counsels investigation, according to the Times. Flynns lawyers cancelled an agreement concluded between Trump and Flynns legal teams to share information about the investigation and their responses. Trumps lawyers said this development suggested Flynn was working on a deal with the special counsel. Special Counsel Robert Muellers team is looking into Flynns work on a Turkish documentary film, the Wall Street Journal reported. Flynn paid consultants to create a currently unfinished film attacking exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The FBI is probing Flynns business connections to the Turkish government in connection with the film. Separately, Congressional officials referred allegations about Flynns role in a scheme to provide nuclear power to Middle East countries to the special counsels investigation, the Washington Post reported. Rep. Trey Gowdy sent a letter to Mueller referring congressional democrats concerns about Flynns sponsorship of a plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East while he was in office.

The U.S. will cease arming Kurdish fighters in Syria, CBS News reported. President Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the U.S. would stop its arms shipments to the YPG, a Kurdish group that forms an integral part of the U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Turkey has called the YPG a terrorist organization because of its connections to rebel groups in Turkeys eastern mountains. The White House did not explicitly confirm the change in policy, but Turkish officials called on the U.S. to uphold its pledge, according to Reuters.

Aid shipments entered Yemen for the first time in the weeks since the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels blockaded major ports, the Times reported. A shipment of flour reached the seaport at Al Hudaydah and aid planes landed at Sanaa, Yemens capital. The U.N. said the Saudi coalition must continue to allow supplies to arrive as Yemen faces a devastating famine and health crisis. A cholera epidemic has threatened vulnerable members of Yemens population  as over 17 million people lack reliable access to food.

The FBI failed to inform dozens of current and former U.S. officials that the Russian hacking operation Fancy Bear had targeted their email accounts, the AP reported. Of more than 80 officials whose emails the Russian group aimed to compromise, the FBI notified only two of the potential threat. Many former intelligence and military officials learned about the attempted hacking only when journalists contacted them about the matter.

The head of the European Parliament asked the Polish government to take steps to ensure the security of Polish parliamentarians after far-right groups staged mock hangings of the politicians, Reuters reported. Extremists hanged the portraits of Polish representatives to Brussels who backed a resolution condemning a Polish far-right march in early November as fascist. The head of the European Parliament asked the Polish government to condemn the attacks on the politicians.

The Pentagon is likely to admit that there are over 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Syria, revising upwards its previously estimate of 500 troops on the ground, according to Reuters. The Department of Defense is expected to announce the revised number to reflect a more accurate accounting of troops present in Syria and not to announce an increase in troop commitments.

 

ICYMI: This holiday weekend on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes posted the Mother May I Launch a Missile edition of Rational Security.

Orin Kerr argued that the Fourth Amendment does not guarantee a general right to be secure against government surveillance.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Alina Polyakova and Arkady Ostrovsky on Russias far east.

In the Foreign Policy Essay, Kim Cragin argued that foreign fighters who are transferred to third countries that are not their homes are a major security risk.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

 Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

Putin and American political process – Google News: Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks – Arab American News


Arab American News
Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks
Arab American News
Russia has elections next year and President Vladimir Putin wants to show progress towards a political deal after two years of fighting far from Russian soil. Moscow has already said it will bring many troops home from Syria by the end of the year 
Syria talks: Could this round make real progress?The National
UN urges Syrian government to attend Geneva talksMedicine Hat News

all 108 news articles »

 Putin and American political process – Google News

trump and intelligence community – Google News: Trump Is Better Than Obama on Cybersecurity Rules, ACLU Says – Newsweek

Trump Is Better Than Obama on Cybersecurity Rules, ACLU Says
Newsweek
However, the civil rights and liberties defense group did not let the U.S. government or Trump off the hook over the debate about keeping cybersecurity vulnerabilities secret. The U.S. intelligence community already dealt with one such flaw earlier

 trump and intelligence community – Google News

crime and terror – Google News: Op-ed in PA daily claims Israel behind Sinai terror attack – The Times of Israel


The Times of Israel
Op-ed in PA daily claims Israel behind Sinai terror attack
The Times of Israel
Palestinian Liberation Front political bureau member Muhammad Al-Soudi said that the crime that was committed against the heroic Egyptian army soldiers in northern Sinai is not unrelated to the phenomenon of terror in the region, which is sustained

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 crime and terror – Google News

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Is Iran Trying to Inflate Yemens Currency as a Tool of Warfare?

On Nov. 20, the Treasury Departments Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces sanctions, identified and designated individuals and entities connected to an operation by the Quds force, the special forces division of Irans Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to print counterfeit Yemeni money worth hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars using European equipment. Treasury only released limited information about the plot, but the sanctions are likely to spur policymakers to analyze carefully Irans next moves.

Two developments are important to watch. First, the U.S. should be paying close attention to whether, and how, Iran might use economic warfare to destabilize an adversarys economy. Second, the Quds force managed to draw Europe into its actions, tempting a European Union response; if Europe fails to respond adequately, it may embolden the IRGC.

The revelation that the Quds force was printing the Yemeni rial invites the question: Why did the Iran choose to counterfeit Yemeni currency in particular?

Yemen has been in the midst of a civil war since 2015, meaning that it has a weak government without the resources to stop a massive counterfeiting scheme. However, policymakers should also consider whether Iran is being more than opportunistic in choosing to counterfeit Yemeni currency. Perhapsand this remains conjecturalIran may be trying to circulate fake currency in order to destabilize the Yemeni economy through inflation. The World Bank estimates that Yemens economy contracted by about 37.5 percent since 2015 with a concurrent spike in inflation. Iran is currently supporting the Houthi rebellion against the Yemeni government, sending increasingly lethal weapons into the region, and therefore has an interest in weakening the government and the countrys economy.

It would not be the first time Tehran has used counterfeiting as a tool of economic warfare: Iran was tied to a counterfeiting scheme targeting the Iraqi economy in 1992. It flooded the economy with counterfeit money in order to increase inflation and destabilize the economy. This months recent counterfeiting revelation could be signaling that theyre implementing a similar scheme to increase inflation in Yemen.

The Treasury designation revealed that in addition to printing hundreds of millions of Yemeni rial, the Iranians boldly used European equipment to pursue their scheme. The Quds forces used front companies in Germany to circumvent European export controls and obtain equipment to print Yemeni rial.

Exposing that the Quds force used German front-companies to obtain the counterfeiting equipment has to give Europeans pause in their reintegration efforts with Iran, after the Iran nuclear deal. The EUs diplomatic service chief, Helga Schmid, explained that there was a 94 percent increase in Iranian-European trade in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period the previous year. Those billions of dollars in new trade will certainly incentivize European companies to pressure their governments to avoid applying additional sanctions against Iran. However, since Iran uses cash to pursue destabilizing activities such as its well-documented support of terrorism and even cyberattacks against the U.S. financial system, the use of German companies will likely increase the weight of Secretary of State Rex Tillersons calls on European governments to sanction the IRGC.

The U.S. should watch Irans response to these sanctions carefully. The failure of Europe to act may embolden the IRGC, which likely knows that Europe wants to avoid hurting trade with Iran again and losing out on the resultant revenue. The U.S. should especially be on the lookout for any efforts to evade sanctions.

Ultimately, any discussion of economic sanctions against the Iranian counterfeit ring should serve a purpose greater than simply stopping and punishing an organization thats long been committed to illicit actions; it should push the U.S. and its allies to think both about how to limit Irans bad behavior now and contemplate how Iran may be strategizing to achieve its future geopolitical objectives.

 Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

Palmer Report: Was James Woolsey wearing a wire at Mar-a-Lago this weekend when he met with Donald Trump?

About a month ago, former CIA Director James Woolsey confirmed to the media that he’s been fully cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the investigation into Michael Flynn’s alleged kidnapping plot with the government of Turkey. Now it’s being reported that Woolsey spoke extensively with Donald Trump this weekend at Mar-a-Lago. Wait, what? There are only two possible explanations here, and they’re both remarkably odd.

The first scenario would be that Woolsey recklessly decided to meet with Donald Trump in order to help sabotage the investigation, knowing that Mueller would find out, and knowing that he might be risking obstruction of justice charges in the process. Trump does tend to have a corrupting influence on those around him, but we’ve already seen that Woolsey is immune to it. When he first overheard the Flynn kidnapping plot, he immediately reported it to then-Vice President Joe Biden. Why? Woolsey didn’t want to risk committing a felony by failing to report a felony.

So unless Woolsey has suddenly gone uncharacteristically off the deep end, we’re looking at the only other possible scenario: Trump invited Woolsey to Mar-a-Lago in the hope of winning him over, Woolsey informed Mueller, and Mueller told him to go for strategic reasons. In such case Woolsey likely would have been wearing a wire, or using some other method of collecting evidence. This would mean that Trump and his legal team are incredibly stupid, considering that Woolsey already announced to the world that he’s working with Mueller.

And yet that second scenario is the only plausible explanation. Donald Trump decided to try to glad-hand James Woolsey into helping him on the Michael Flynn thing, and Woolsey and Robert Mueller used it as an opportunity to nail Trump even further for obstruction of justice. Is Trump truly that arrogant to have tried such a stupid thing? Are his lawyers really that inept to let it happen? Yes, come to think of it.

The post Was James Woolsey wearing a wire at Mar-a-Lago this weekend when he met with Donald Trump? appeared first on Palmer Report.

 Palmer Report

Palmer Report: Donald Trump goes completely berserk

Over the past few days, as the cold hard reality sunk in for him that Michael Flynn was selling him out in doomsday fashion, we’ve been waiting to see how Donald Trump would take the news. Based on some of his Twitter eruptions over the weekend, the answer appeared to be “not particularly well.” Now that the week has officially begun and he’s back on a real schedule, we’re getting a chance to see whether he’s able to move past it. Today revealed that he’s not moving past anything.

This morning, about two hours later than his weekday Twitter rants usually begin, Donald Trump tweeted this beauty: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

The tweet was met with such widespread derision that “FAKE NEWS TROPHY” immediately began trending on Twitter as people rushed in to make fun of him. Undeterred by reality, Trump then went on to specifically attack MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough at random. None of it made the least bit of sense; it was merely Trump going completely berserk in profoundly stupid fashion. But there may be more to it.

This is the second time of late in which Donald Trump has used the “your favorite President (me)” remark in a tweet. Various observers have pointed out that it doesn’t sound particularly like him. That led to questions of whether Trump is even writing these tweets. Throw in the fact that his Twitter rant began this morning about two hours later than usual, and it does raise the question of whether an adviser is now tweeting this crap to try to keep up appearances. That would be even worse news for Trump, as it would mean he’s given up trying.

The post Donald Trump goes completely berserk appeared first on Palmer Report.

 Palmer Report

Russian Intelligence services – Google News: Accused Ancaster hacker to appear in California court Tuesday in plea hearing – TheSpec.com


Times Now
Accused Ancaster hacker to appear in California court Tuesday in plea hearing
TheSpec.com
Baratov was arrested in Hamilton in March under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others two of them allegedly officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the Russian intelligence agency for computer hacking 
Yahoo hacking case: Canadian accused of helping Russian intelligence to plead guiltyTimes Now

all 15 news articles »

 Russian Intelligence services – Google News

Ex-Russian minister says he thought bag with $2 million cash was gift of alcohol

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, accused of extorting a bribe, told a court on Monday he thought a bag holding $2 million in cash which he took from Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin held a gift of expensive alcohol.

Deutsche Welle: DW.com – Europe: Vladimir Putin’s Russia has become a ‘toxic state’

Vladimir Putin is widely expected to run for his fourth presidential term in 2018. Russian sociologist and the winner of this year’s Lev Kopelev Prize, Lev Gudkov, tells DW why this scenario is dangerous.

 Deutsche Welle: DW.com – Europe

After Tumultuous Week, Germanys Politics Look to the Familiar

Leaders of the German chancellors conservative party say a coalition with the Social Democrats would provide more stability than a minority government.

Apocalyptic Scenario: Russian Diplomat Warns US Against Korean Military Exercises – International Business Times


International Business Times
Apocalyptic Scenario: Russian Diplomat Warns US Against Korean Military Exercises
International Business Times
A Russian diplomat slammed the U.S. for its joint military exercises in the Pacific and warned of an apocalyptic scenario on the Korean peninsula, according to Russian state-owned wire service TASS on Monday. A scenario of the apocalyptic 
North Korea Tech Wins Freedom In The SouthForbes
Michigan man enters DMZ to resolve nuclear conflict, is deported from South KoreaMLive.com
South Korea to reconsider its abortion banTheBlaze.com
Express.co.uk –The Epoch Times –Bowling Green Daily News –Newser
all 31 news articles »
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1:21 PM 11/27/2017 – Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post

Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None

Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post

The pathetic neediness of Trump – Washington Post
Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: report – Raw Story
McCain: Trump Has No ‘Principles and Beliefs,’ Just ‘Takes Advantage of Situations’ – Newsweek
Trump once again rises to Wall Street’s defense – Washington Post
Trump May Be Nuts. But Is He Crazier than Nixon? Or LBJ? – Newsweek
What If? An Alternative Strategy for Sept. 12, 2001 – Common Dreams
Melania Trump basically dared her husband to run in 2016 – Death and Taxes
Jared Kushner Delays Senate Deadline for Documents in Russia Investigation Battle – Newsweek
Trump dumps Soho hotel after glitzy launch and 11-year slump – 6Sqft (blog)
McCain To Hillary Clinton: ‘You’ve Got To Move On’
ANALYSIS: In questioning tape’s authenticity, President Trump seeks to define own reality – ABC News
Reports: Officer-involved shooting closes Parks Mall in Arlington – mySanAntonio.com
Gunfire at Middletown, New York, mall leaves 2 injured – CBS News
McCain: Trump doesn’t have any ‘principles and beliefs’ – The Hill
The Early Edition: November 27, 2017
Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill
Flynns Turkish Delight: How, Why, and When He Reversed His Policy Positions on Turkey
Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up – Business Insider
Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn – Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme – The Daily Dot
Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia – The UTD Mercury
Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks
Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library – MyAJC
Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Polk County, ‘shelter in place’ order lifted – WFLA

 

Saved Stories – None
Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself
Washington Post
Did Flynn know in advance that Trump was going to fire FBI Director James BComey, and did he know if the reason Trump wanted to shut down the investigation was related to the Russia investigation and/or Flynn’s own wrongdoing? If so, Trump and those …
Blue State Blues: President Trump’s Lawyers Are Violating His Sixth Amendment RightsBreitbart Newsall 128 news articles »

The pathetic neediness of Trump – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
The pathetic neediness of Trump
Washington Post
In the cauldron of the presidency when surrounded by sycophants to one side and brutal critics to the other, and faced with constitutional and practical limitations on executive power, Trump’s already weak temperament, intellect and psyche are stressed.and more »

Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: report – Raw Story
 


Raw Story
Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: report
Raw Story
Politico reports that Trump’s decision to have a phone call with Putin recently drew literal groans from some administration Russia hands because it came just after the Russian president had been photographed embracing Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad.
The $47mn question of Trump’s friendly words to PutinRT
Why Putin’s Foes Deplore US Fixation on Election MeddlingNew York Times
Russian Senator: PutinTrump Dialogue Shows ‘Agenda’teleSUR English
TASS –Haaretz –The Hill
all 568 news articles »
McCain: Trump Has No ‘Principles and Beliefs,’ Just ‘Takes Advantage of Situations’ – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
McCain: Trump Has No ‘Principles and Beliefs,’ Just ‘Takes Advantage of Situations’
Newsweek
The Arizona senator is far from the first member of his party to question Trump’s commitment to traditional Republican values. After all, Trump donated to Democrats before becoming a member of the Republican Party, and during last year’s battle for the 
Juan Williams: Two politicians of the yearThe Hillall 38 news articles »

Trump once again rises to Wall Street’s defense – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
Trump once again rises to Wall Street’s defense
Washington Post
Among the many reasons that Donald Trump gave for his appreciation of WikiLeaks publishing material stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman was that it exposed what he said were her hidden allegiances. About a month before the 2016 election, …
CFPB in chaos as chief refuses to step aside for Trump’s manBBC News
Trump pick to head consumer protection office at work despite legal challengeCNBC
Obama-era official sues to stop Trump’s consumer protection bureau appointmentABC News
The Atlantic –USA TODAY
all 120 news articles »
Trump May Be Nuts. But Is He Crazier than Nixon? Or LBJ? – Newsweek
 

Trump May Be Nuts. But Is He Crazier than Nixon? Or LBJ?
Newsweek
It is clear that a large number of our past Presidents had mental issues that affected their performance in office, although none on the level of the potential danger of Donald Trump. It is a dangerous game to try to gauge whether past Presidents with  

What If? An Alternative Strategy for Sept. 12, 2001 – Common Dreams
 


Common Dreams
What If? An Alternative Strategy for Sept. 12, 2001
Common Dreams
A generation born after 9/11 will vote in the next presidential election. They’ve never known … By the time I got my chance to join America’s war on terror, in October 2006, Baghdad was collapsing into chaos as civil war raged and U.S. deaths were and more »

Melania Trump basically dared her husband to run in 2016 – Death and Taxes
 


Death and Taxes
Melania Trump basically dared her husband to run in 2016
Death and Taxes
So, basically, Melania said fuck it to her own happiness not to mention the sanity and safety of the entire country so that she wouldn’t have to hear the loudmouthed narcissist she married be a loudmouthed narcissist. Way to go, FLOTUS.and more »

Jared Kushner Delays Senate Deadline for Documents in Russia Investigation Battle – Newsweek
 


New York Daily News
Jared Kushner Delays Senate Deadline for Documents in Russia Investigation Battle
Newsweek
Jared Kushner got a reprieve from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday and will not have to meet the November 27 deadline for handing over documents related to his Russia contacts during the 2016 presidential election, officials told Newsweek.
Donald Trump Jr. Wondered If Weird Twitter From WikiLeaks Was RealMother Jonesall 7 news articles »

Trump dumps Soho hotel after glitzy launch and 11-year slump – 6Sqft (blog)
 


6Sqft (blog)
Trump dumps Soho hotel after glitzy launch and 11-year slump
6Sqft (blog)
There was even a criminal investigation in 2011 that started with condo buyers who accused the Trumps and other defendants of inflating sales figures; the charges were eventually dropped. Another lawsuit claimed the hotel was backed by Russian and more »

McCain To Hillary Clinton: ‘You’ve Got To Move On’

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says he understands why Hillary Clinton decided to write her campaign memoir, What Happened, which
ANALYSIS: In questioning tape’s authenticity, President Trump seeks to define own reality – ABC News
 


Daily Mail
ANALYSIS: In questioning tape’s authenticity, President Trump seeks to define own reality
ABC News
Trump may also simply be trying to salvage a Senate seat for the Republican Party. His decision to stand by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore despite multiple women accusing him of unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact is predicated on the …
Donald Trump ‘tells senators and advisors that it is NOT his voice on the grab them by the p**** Access Hollywood Daily Mailall 59 news articles »

Reports: Officer-involved shooting closes Parks Mall in Arlington – mySanAntonio.com
 


mySanAntonio.com
Reports: Officer-involved shooting closes Parks Mall in Arlington
mySanAntonio.com
The Arlington Police Department is reporting there is not an active shooting situation at the The Parks Mall in South Arlington following an officer-involved shooting there late Sunday afternoon. The North Texas mall was closed and shoppers evacuated …
Shopping center in Arlington, TX evacuated after officer involved shootingKTRK-TVall 42 news articles »

Gunfire at Middletown, New York, mall leaves 2 injured – CBS News
 


CBS News
Gunfire at Middletown, New York, mall leaves 2 injured
CBS News
Last Updated Nov 26, 2017 10:06 PM EST. MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — A busy shopping mall in upstate New York was evacuated Sunday after two people suffered minor injuries when a gun was fired at the floor. Police said it’s unclear if the shooting was …
Police say NY mall evacuated after gun discharges into floorABC News
Hudson Valley Mall Evacuated After Man’s Gun Discharges, Sparking Panic: State PoliceNBC New Yorkall 3 news articles »

McCain: Trump doesn’t have any ‘principles and beliefs’ – The Hill
 


The Hill
McCain: Trump doesn’t have any ‘principles and beliefs’
The Hill
Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump touts ‘big week for tax cuts’ as Senate GOP nears critical vote Five health-care fights facing Congress in December State Department wracked by departures under Trump: report MORE (R-Ariz.) ripped President …
McCain Recounts His Obamacare Repeal Death Blow in New InterviewNew York Magazine
‘What’s the f—— point?’ McCain blasts Hillary Clinton’s postelection loss book tourBusiness Insider
McCain Dings Hillary For Continued Fixation on 2016: ‘What’s the F*cking Point?’Mediaite
TPM
all 36 news articles »
The Early Edition: November 27, 2017
 

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

EGYPT

The attackers who killed at least 305 at a mosque in Egypts Sinai Peninsula on Friday were carrying the flag of the Islamic State group, according to Egyptian officials, the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said following the attack that he would respond with the utmost force. The BBC reports.

The assault was carried out by suicide bombers and up to 30 gunmen, according to survivors and officials, though no one has claimed responsibility it is widely believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. Louisa Loveluck and Heba Farouk Mahfouz report at the Washington Post.

The Egyptian army conducted airstrikes against the vehicles that were used in Fridays attack, however the use of devastating force has been the defining feature of Sissis approach to the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai and it has not delivered success, leaving civilians trapped between militants and heavy-handed military tactics. Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick explain at the New York Times.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed to counter terrorism and extremism, at a gathering of an alliance of 40 Muslim-majority nations yesterday, making the comments in light of the Sinai attack. Officials said that the alliance would allow members to request or offer assistance to each other to fight militants, Stephen Kalin reports at Reuters.

Sinai tribesmen called on men and youths to coordinate for a major operation with the Egyptian army in a statement posted to Facebook after Fridays attack, demonstrating the desire to end the Islamist insurgency despite the historically strained relationship between the army and Egyptian Bedouins. Dahlia Kholaif and Rory Jones report at the Wall Street Journal.

The unprecedented attack in the Sinai Peninsula should prompt Trump to re-examine Sissis aggressive approach to the Islamist insurgency, which has led to large-scale deaths of Egyptian security personnel, reported abuses carried out by Egyptian troops, and increasing insecurity for civilians. The instability of the Peninsula should require a multifaceted strategy for political and economic reconstruction, Ishaan Tharoor writes at the Washington Post.

The Sinai attack was different because it was carried out in a way that completely cuts across local dynamics, undermining the ability of radical groups to recruit local Egyptians and fomenting opposition to extremist ideology, H.A. Hellyer writes at the BBC.

The death toll in the Sinai shows that this is a crisis that has built over decades and accelerated in recent years, the Guardian Editorial board writes, arguing that Sissis heavy-handed approach has further isolated an area that has been marginalized, neglected and repressed and that relying on brute force would likely lead to more civilian deaths.

SYRIA

The White House acknowledged Friday that the Trump administration would stop arming Kurdish (Y.P.G.) fighters in Syria, in a statement a few hours after a phone call between Trump and the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan, the policy shift has been long sought by the Turkish government due to its concerns about Y.P.G.s ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), which has fought against the Turkish state for decades. Carol Morello and Erin Cunningham report at the Washington Post.

Trumps pledge not to arm the Y.P.G. will lose value if it is not implemented, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said today, a spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition said yesterday that it was looking at adjustments to the support it provides to the Y.P.G.-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.). Reuters reports.

The Pentagon is likely to acknowledge that there are approximately 2000 U.S. troops in Syria, two anonymous officials said Friday, saying that a last minute change in schedules could delay an announcement. Idrees Ali reports at Reuters.

Russian air strikes have killed at least 53 civilians in the Islamic State-held village of Al-Shafah in the Deir al-Zour province at the weekend, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russia had confirmed earlier that six long-range bombers had carried out air strikes in the area but stated that they had hit militants and their strongholds. The BBC reports.

At least 23 civilians were killed yesterday in pro-Syrian government forces operations against the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near the capital of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, despite the fact that the area forms part of an agreed de-escalation zone brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Reuters reports.

Russia has been emboldened by its efforts to support President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pragmatic in his approach to Syria, however the challenge now is how to win the peace. Jonathan Marcus provides an analysis at the BBC, adding that the Trump administrations support for the Kurds provided it key leverage in the future of Syria but it may have conceded its influence to pacify Turkey.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. There were no reported strikes conducted on Nov. 19 in Iraq or Syria. [Central Command] The figures have not been updated since Nov. 20.

LEBANON

The return of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has raised questions about the future of Lebanon and the region, Hariri unexpectedly resigned on Nov. 4 from the Saudi capital of Riyadh in a televised announcement citing the destructive role of Iran and its Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah ally as the reason for his decision, leading to two weeks of speculation over his status and Saudi Arabias potential role in his resignation. Ben Hubbard and Hwaida Saad observe at the New York Times, explaining the situation and its relevance to the Saudi-Iran rivalry and regional instability.

We will not accept Hezbollahs positions that affect our Arab brothers or target the security and stability of their countries, Hariri said in a statement released by the prime ministers office Saturday, Al Jazeera reports.

Hezbollah has cemented its status as a regional power and it may benefit from the instability that has been caused since Nov. 4 both within Lebanon and in its militant activity outside the country, which it has been conducting with the support of Iran. Erin Cunningham and Louisa Loveluck provide an analysis at the Washington Post.

IRAN

Iran would increase the range of its missiles if Europe wants to turn into a threat, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said at the weekend in comments quoted by the state-run Fars news agency, making the remarks after the French President Emmanuel Macron called for discussions on Irans ballistic missile program earlier this month. Al Jazeera reports.

The election of Trump and the foreign policy approach of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman have united Iranians in the belief that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted and that Iran is capable of staring down its enemies, especially in light of the successes of Iranian-led militias in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State group. Thomas Erdbrink writes at the New York Times.

U.S.-TURKEY RELATIONS

The trial of Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab in Miami has the potential to further deteriorate U.S.-Turkey relations, Zarrab has been charged with conspiring with Turkish officials to help evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, charges which have infuriated Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan. David Gauthier-Villars and Nicole Hang report at the Wall Street Journal.

Erdoğan has attempted to paint the charges as a fabrication and the continuation of last years failed coup against Ankara, he has raised the issue with U.S. officials on numerous occasions and with Trump in September, revealing the level of anxiety that the Turkish government feels about Zarrabs case. Carlotta Gall and Benjamin Weiser report at the New York Times.

Speculation surrounding Zarrabs possible cooperation with U.S. prosecutors has prompted some to question whether he has been providing information to special counsel Robert Muellers team in his investigations into Trumps associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn who worked on behalf of the Turkish government before the 2016 U.S. election. Devlin Barrett reports at the Washington Post.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

The U.S. reversed its decision to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) mission in Washington last week, saying that it would impose limitations that it would expect to lift after a 90-day period. Max Greenwood reports at the Hill.

The presidents son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner still has responsibility for a plan to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, however his portfolio has shrunk significantly since the appointment of White House chief of staff John F. Kelly. Sharon LaFraniere, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker explain at the New York Times.

The strained relations between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and much of the staff at the State Department was exemplified by the recent departure of the chief of security, with many diplomats concerned about Tillersons lack of focus on policy and the priority he has placed on reorganizing the department. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

Tillerson has been focusing on fiddling around with the org chart and mundane tasks instead of focusing on diplomacy, he has failed to fill key positions and has immersed himself in bureaucracy. Tillerson needs to stop playing management consultant and be the secretary of state, the former U.S. State Department director of policy planning, David McKean, writes at POLITICO Magazine.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The F.B.I. did not notify tens of U.S. officials that Russian hackers attempted to break into their personal email accounts, an AP investigation has found, Raphael Satter, Jeff Donn and Desmond Butler report.

Special counsel Robert Muellers team have been investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynns work on a documentary film targeting exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen and financed by Turkish interests, the questions about the film come as part of a wider probe into whether Flynn improperly concealed financial ties to Turkey and Russia, and amid speculation that Flynn may be working on a deal with Mueller. Dion Nissenbaum and Rebecca Ballhaus report at the Wall Street Journal.

We are still in a stalemate, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson said last week, adding the U.S. is only 90 days into Trumps new Afghanistan strategy and that weve set all the conditions to win. Hans Nichols and Jonathan Allen report at NBC News.

South Koreas defense ministry today warned North Korea not to violate the armistice agreement after North Korean troops fired across the demilitarized zone (D.M.Z.) separating the two countries in an attempt to stop a defecting troop. Reuters reports.

Women who have joined the Islamic State group pose a significant challenge when they return to their native countries, many appear to have embraced the terrorist groups ideology and pose a threat to national security upon their return, including the possibility that they would indoctrinate family members. Souad Mekhennet and Joby Warrick report at the Washington Post 

Russian President Vladimir Putins tactics in Ukraine threaten to push the Trump administration into another bad deal that undermines the West and strengthens Russias hand, Josh Rogin writes at the Washington Post.

Read on Just Security »

Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill
 


The Hill
Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal
The Hill
News that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller has Trump critics virtually hyperventilating with excitement. Indeed, the prospect of flipping Flynn has led some to all but declare the end of the 
Flynn as cooperator poses danger to TrumpThe Daily World all 104

 
A Split From Trump Indicates That Flynn Is Moving to Cooperate With MuellerNew York Timesall 108 news articles »

Flynns Turkish Delight: How, Why, and When He Reversed His Policy Positions on Turkey
 

Many commentators anticipate that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely indict retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn in part for the former National Security Advisors previously undisclosed work as a foreign agent of Turkey. Muellers team has reportedly obtained enough evidence to indict Flynn and his son, according to an NBC News report earlier this month.

There is no way to tell, based on current reporting, whether that body of indictable evidence, includes the two alleged meetings in Sept. and Dec. 2016 where Flynn may have discussed a plot to forcibly remove U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, or initiate legal proceedings against him, in exchange for $15 million. But in considering Flynns case, it is important to keep track of how he changed from a relatively hardline position against the government of Turkey to public positions in favor of Ankara. Important questions for legal liability and moral responsibility include whether Flynns conflict of interest and efforts in favor of Turkey continued past the election and into his time in office.

Engaging in pro-Turkish government dealings was a major change in Flynns position on Turkey. In July 2016, Flynn gave a speech supporting the military coup against the Turkish government, specifically citing the countrys move toward Islamism under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the militarys secular orientation. And previously, while serving as DIA Director under the Obama administration, Flynn says he alerted White House officials to Turkeys indifference toward ISIS growth in Syria.

What explains why Flynn changed his position on Turkey and why did he persist in pro-Turkish positions after his firms contract to work on behalf of the Turkish government purportedly ended?

I. Flynns initial anti-Erdoğan, anti-Islamist public positions, and his later The Hill Op-Ed Reversal

War Against Cunning Radical Islamists Tweet (Nov. 16, 2015)Flynn has publicly spoken against what he views as a global threat of radical Islamism, which, according to his view, also implicated Erdoğans pro-Islamist government at one point. He tweeted in November 2015:

We are facing violent, but very serious and cunning radical Islamists. We can be war weary when we win. If we lose, we have nothing.

General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 16, 2015

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Flynn Expresses Concerns on Turkeys Indifference to ISIS to Sy Hersh (January 2016)Flynn seemed to view Turkeys pro-Islamist attitudes as leading to the countrys indifference to ISIS growing next door. In January 2016, he told Seymour Hersh in a New Yorker interview:

If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballisticWe understood Isiss long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.

He added that the Obama administration gave enormous pushback with respect to the DIAs reporting on ISIS growth in Syria, including Turkeys alleged indifference: I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.

Flynn Tweets that Fear of Muslims is Rational (Feb. 27. 2016)In line with his prior statements, Flynn tweeted in Feb. 2016 that fear of Muslims was rational:

Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions https://t.co/NLIfKFD9lU

General Flynn (@GenFlynn) February 27, 2016

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Flynn Lauds the Anti-Erdogan Coup at ACT! For America Speech (July 15, 2016)On July 15, 2016, Flynn gave a speech at the Cleveland meeting of ACT! For America. The organization is an advocacy group that opposes what it calls Islamofascism, which Brigitte Gabriel, the groups founder, believes comes from one source: The Koran. Flynn began his remarks by expressing support for the military-led coup détat in Turkey:

[The Turkish military] has been just excised for many years by what, what really became a secular country, meaning a sort of, regular sort of nation-state, and then began to move toward Islamism. This is Turkey under Erdoğan, who is actually very close to President Obama.

So, Im going to be very fascinated to see what happens, because if they, the military succeeds, then one of the things that came out of the military tonight, theyre about plus eight hours from here, so its probably about I dont know, three-four oclock in the morning there. One of the things the military immediately said is:We recognize our responsibilities with NATO, we recognize our responsibilities with the United Nations, we want to make sure that the world knows, we are, we want to be seen as a secular nation. This is the military.

[Applause]

So, yeah, I think that is worth clapping for.

New York Times Notes Flynn and Trump Share Islamophobic Outlook and Flynns Influence on the Campaign (November 2016)The New York Times post-election profile of Flynn noted his anti-Islamist credentials throughout the campaign:

[Trump and Flynn] have both at times crossed the line into outright Islamophobia.

[Trump and Flynn] both exhibit a loose relationship with facts: General Flynn, for instance, has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not).

As an adviser, General Flynn has already proved to be a powerful influence on Mr. Trump, convincing the president-elect that the United States is in a world war with Islamist militants and must work with any willing allies in the fight, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Flynn Supports Erdoğan Governments Goals in the Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 08, 2016)On Election Day 2016, The Hill published an op-ed by Flynn titled, Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support. The op-ed criticized the Obama administration for not being friendly enough toward Erdoğans government and portrayed Gülen as a cleric who portrays himself as a moderate, but he is in fact a radical Islamist.

It compares Gülen to the founders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and labels him Turkeys equivalent of Bin Laden:

To professionals in the intelligence community, the stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gülens statements in the tradition of Qutb and al Bana. Gülens vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network. From Turkeys point of view, Washington is harboring Turkeys Osama bin Laden.

It also ties Gülen to the Clinton Foundation:

[F]unding seems to be no problem for Gülens network. Hired attorneys work to keep the lucrative government source of income for Gülen and his network going. Influential charities such as Cosmos Foundation continue their support for Gülens charter schools.

Incidentally, Cosmos Foundation is a major donor to Clinton Foundation. No wonder Bill Clinton calls Mullah Gülen his friend.

And concludes:

We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognize Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkeys perspective. What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort while running 160 charter schools funded by the Turkish taxpayers?

The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.

When Flynns op-ed came out, Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who hired Flynns firm, told the New York Times: This is not a guy who would be influenced by a contract. He wrote what he believes.

Al Monitors Turkey columnist Mustafa Akyol also told the paper of the warm reception Flynns op-ed had inside the government of Turkey: You would expect to see [an Islamophobia] concern here, but quite the contrary: Flynn is quite a respected figure now in government circles, just because he wrote that Gülen should be extradited to Turkey.

He added: [Flynns op-ed] was greeted with great happiness here, adding that Erdoğan supporters thought: Finally, somebody in America who understands us.

In late Nov., Alptekin denied that either Erdoğan or the Turkish government paid for Flynns op-ed, telling The Independent that the idea was preposterous, noting that the op-ed also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that Erdogan had sometimes supported. He contended that Inovos contract with Flynn Intel Group was not about representing the position of the Turkish government, and Alptekin said that he was not affiliated with the Turkish government.

Flynn has a strong anti-Islamist streak, and yet he went from criticizing Turkeys relatively pro-Islamist government and supporting the coup against Erdoğan, to publicly advocating for Gülens removal to face justice for the coup in Turkey. What changed between these two eventsthe coup and the op-edto cause Flynn to switch positions on Turkey?

II. A likely motive: lucrative lobbying contracts, and how Flynns private business activities may have affected his public positions

Flynn Intel Group Signs Contract with Inovo BV (Aug. 2016)In early August 2016, Flynn Intel Group was approached by Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council, a Turkish economic relations board run by an appointee of Prs Erdoğan. Alptekin proposed that Flynn work on a project repairing Turkeys image in the United States with Alptekins Netherlands-based firm Inovo BVwork to be performed by Flynns firm over 90 days in exchange for $600,000. Flynn agreed.

Though Flynn later conceded in his belated filing that the Inovo work could be construed to have principally helped the Republic of Turkey, Flynn opted not to file this work with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) database until strongly encouraged to do so by the Justice Department. FARA requires lobbyists whose work directly or indirectly benefits a foreign government to file as agents of a foreign power. The Flynn firm would likely assert that because the Inovo work benefitted a business and not a foreign nation, the firm could instead file with Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, and it did so in Sept. 2016.

Flynn Meets with Turkish Ministers Alongside Woolsey in New York (Sept. 21, 2016)On September 21, Flynn met in New York with the Turkish foreign minister and energy ministers (the latter is also Erdoğans son-in-law), alongside former CIA Director James Woolsey and a former FBI agent, according to Woolseys account of the deliberations. Woolsey later told the Wall Street Journal that the meeting discussed a plot to remove Turkish cleric Gülen from the United States and take him to Turkey.

According to a report by the far-right news site The Daily Caller, one month after the Sept. 2016 meeting between Flynn and Turkish ministers in New York, Flynn attended an event with Halil Mutlu, former director of the Turken Foundation, a U.S. charity focused on Turkish issues, and President Erdoğans cousin. (Readers should note: The Daily Caller generally in general has a far-right ideological lens, and it has been criticized for having a white nationalist problem in recent months.)

Flynn Intel Group Lobbies Congress on Inovos Behalf (Sept.Oct. 2016)After signing the contract with Inovo BV, Flynns Intel Group began lobbying Congress on Inovos behalf, though Flynn himself did not participate in the lobbying. Flynns Sept. 2016 Lobbying Disclosure Act forms reveal that Robert Kelley, Flynns lawyer and a former Chief Counsel to a House subcommittee, managed the lobbying portion of the Inovo contract.

According to the FARA registration, in Oct. 2016, VP Bijan R. Kian met twice with Miles Taylor, National Security Advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee, to discuss Flynn Intel Groups work for Inovo and research related to Turkey and Gülen. According to a Daily Caller source, at the second meeting, Kian and Inovo representatives discussed Gülen with Taylor, and what they called his shady Gülen Movement Schools. The source added that House committee staff were not receptive to Kians approach, and that Flynn was not present for the meeting. Beyond this Congressional outreach, the FARA registration also notes that Flynns firm  oversaw a PR firm SGR LLCs outreach to an Arkansas state government official with respect to the Inovo work.

The AP reported that as part of the Taylor meeting, Flynn Intel Group staff suggested that Congress hold hearings about Gülen.

At the time of the filing, Alptekin told the AP: I disagree with the filingIt would be different if I was working for the government of Turkey, but I am not taking directions from anyone in the government. He said the filings were a response to political pressure.

Flynn Groups VP Meets Alptekin Prior to The Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 2, 2016)According to an in-depth profile of Flynn by The New Yorkers Nicholas Schmidle, on November 2, 2016, Alptekin privately met Flynn Intel Group VP Bijan R. Kian and other corporate officers at the firms offices in Alexandria, Va. Alptekin, believing that Trump was likely to lose the election, emphasized that, We have to generate something to show Turkey how successful we can beWhat success can we show them now?

As Schmidle points out, Flynns op-ed in The Hill was published a week later.

Flynn and Alptekin Statement to the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 17, 2016)Flynn told the Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 17 statement that he would end his relationship with his firm if offered to serve in the Trump administration. He said: If I return to government service, my relationship with my company will be severed in accordance with the policy announced by President-elect Trump. Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin tells the Journal that he hired Flynn to advise him on the U.S.-Turkish security relationship, and more generally, to improve U.S.-Turkish relations.

WH Cabinet Secretarys Post-Election Investigation into FlynnsThe Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 19, 2016)On Nov. 19, the day after Trump appointed Flynn as his National Security Adviser, lawyer Bill McGinley, who later became White House Cabinet Secretary, called Kian and others to investigate the Flynn op-ed. A source told The New Yorker:

Some people seemed skeptical as to whether Flynn had really woken up the day before the election and felt compelled to write an op-ed defending ErdoğanMcGinley wanted to know if Turkish government dollars touched that op-ed.

Kian reportedly told McGinley that Flynn wrote the op-ed entirely on his own, and that it was unrelated to his work for Alptekin.

However, the Flynn groups FARA filing noted that in October and early November, Flynn developed the op-ed based partly based on research done for the Inovo work, and that a draft was shared with Inovo before publication. Further, SGR LLC, a public relations firm Flynn Intel Group hired as part of the Inovo contract, helped Flynn place The Hill op-ed.

Second Meeting with Turkish officials on Alleged Gülen Plot in New York (Dec. 2016)Muellers investigation is reportedly looking into whether, during a second alleged meeting between Flynn and Turkish government representatives in mid-Dec. 2016, participants discussed a plan for Flynn and Flynn Jr. to remove Gülen in exchange for up to $15 million dollars.  It is also reportedly looking into whether they discussed a separate plan to free Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab. The Wall Street Journal reported that the alleged meeting took place in mid-December at the 21 Club in New York, and the discussion considered forcibly removing Mr. Gülen from the U.S. on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali.

If the December meeting were to be confirmed, even if the more sensational allegations about the content of the meeting were not established, it could contradict Flynn Intel Groups filing statements, which state that the Flynn firms contract with Inovo terminated in November 2016, and that is when Flynns paid work that benefited the Turkish government ended. Intentional false statements on a FARA form are a felony.

Flynn Tells Susan Rice Well Take it From Here on Raqqa Campaign (Jan. 10, 2017)On Jan. 10, outgoing National Security Adviser Susan Rice presented Flynn a plan to imminently take over the Islamic States capital in Raqqa, Syria, according to the Washington Post. The plan involved arming Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Syria, and Obama administration officials believed they had little time left to move forward with the operation.

The Post noted that Turkeys Erdoğan had resisted their overtures to fight the Islamic State more robustly, leading in part to the U.S. plan to rely on the Kurds:

In contrast to Obama, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not see the Islamic State as his countrys No. 1 threat. In private meetings with senior U.S. officials in 2014, Erdoğan said the Kurds were his top concern and that removing Assad ranked second, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Erdoğan has long been upset by the U.S. support for Syrian Kurds, which he considers part of a terrorist group that threatens Turkeys national security.

According to the Post, Flynn responded to Rice:

Dont approve itWell make the decision.

McClatchy reported that it is not known if Flynn consulted other administration officials before telling Rice to hold off on the decision, or whether Flynns decision was approved by a higher-ranking official such as Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis.

Raqqa Plan is Dead on Arrival When Presented to Trump Officials (Jan. 17, 2017)

When the plan was turned over to the Trump administration on Jan. 17, per Flynns request, the Postreported that it was dead on arrival. According to McClatchy, Some members of Congress, in private conversations, have even used the word treason to describe Flynns intervention with Rice. And while there is no reporting whether Flynn advised Trump to hold off on the Raqqa assault, media outlets have noted that Trump only approved the plan weeks after he had fired Flynn.

Flynn, Turkish FM Meet over Breakfast at Trump Hotel (Jan. 18, 2017)McClatchy reported that Flynn met Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu over breakfast on Jan. 18 to discuss U.S.-Turkish interests. It was later reported by Business Insider that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was also present at the closed-door meeting at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. Pro-government Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported at the time of the breakfast that the meeting was a first direct reachout between the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan administration and the incoming Donald Trump administration. An aide to Cavusoglu told the paper that that Çavuşoğlu was the only foreign leader at the breakfast and the topics on the U.S.-Turkish agenda were discussed by the attendees. Cavusoglu would later attend Trumps inauguration.

Met w/General Flynn,who will assume the position of National Security Advisor, and other officials at a working breakfast in Washington D.C.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) January 18, 2017

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President Trumps Call with Erdogan (Feb. 7, 2017)On Trumps first call with Erdoğan, the pair agreed to engage in joint action against ISIS positions in Syria, according to two sources in Erdoğans office, Reuters reported. They added that Erdoğan urged Trump not to support the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Al-Monitor reported based that a senior Turkish official said that Erdoğan drew attention to the close ties between the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Turkish-based Kurdish group. Likewise, Reuters added that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be in Turkey on Feb. 9 to discuss security issues with Turkish officials.

* * *

Considering the nature of Flynns pre- and alleged post-election work on behalf of the Turkish government, it appears that the money paid to him as part of the Inovo contract may have played a decisive role in changing his position on Turkey. The extent of his reversal would have negatively implicated U.S. national security interests if it figured into his response to Susan Rice on the operation to retake Raqqa, the Islamic States so-called capital. But why would Flynn remain motivated by pecuniary interests once he was named to be national security advisor and then served in the administration? Perhaps it was not a financial interest at that point. Perhaps it was a case of a persons judgment being clouded, convincing themselves that they believe in a new policy outlook to reduce the cognitive dissonance that would otherwise persist. Another explanation is a more illicit one. If Flynn and his son were still interested in mid-December in being personally paid $15 million by Turkey, theres reason to think Flynn would not have dropped such interests going forward on other policies favorable to Turkey. The allegations reported in the Wall Street Journal and NBC News involving the mid-December meeting certainly raise this specter. The available information in the public domain does not provide a sufficient basis to reach any firm conclusion. It will be up to Muellers investigation and others to tell.

Read on Just Security »

Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up – Business Insider
 


Business Insider
Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up
Business Insider
Sebastian Gorka, the former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said he always carries two pistols, a tourniquet, and a copy of the US Constitution. In a recent interview, Gorka shared his wide-ranging collection of guns, including AK rifles and more »

Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn – Brooklyn Daily Eagle
 

Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
THE LEDE: Happy Monday, Brooklyn! A photographer captures historic battles with toy soldiers, gentrification affects the mob, and we have the best places in the borough to get $1 dollar oysters. Plus, we try metal yoga, the parents of an NYC terror  

Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme – The Daily Dot
 


The Daily Dot
Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme
The Daily Dot
Not only did they misstate the number of pistols Gorka carries every day (it’s only one!), the site compares Trump winning to a movie about Russia invading the United States. Which is maybe a metaphor you want to, you know, shy away from these days. 

Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia – The UTD Mercury
 

Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia
The UTD Mercury
Perhaps the more compelling question, however, is the possible effect that this investigation will have on the Presidency and whether Donald Trump himself could be pressed with criminal charges. Peinhardt said he believes that, with a majority  

Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A breakthrough in U.N.-backed Syria peace talks in Geneva this week seems hardly more likely than in seven earlier rounds as President Bashar al-Assad pushes for total military victory and his opponents stick by their demand he leave power.

Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library – MyAJC
 


MyAJC
Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library
MyAJC
The president’s son had reportedly been promised damaging information on the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, but he later said that Veselnitskaya began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. Browder knows  

 Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News

Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Polk County, ‘shelter in place’ order lifted – WFLA
 


WFLA
Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Polk County, ‘shelter in place’ order lifted
WFLA
POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) A train carrying molten sulfur derailed in Polk County early Monday morning, deputies say. Several agencies are at the scene of the derailment near Lakeland, near the intersection of Galloway Road and Kathleen Road.
Derailed train leaks hazardous molten sulfur in LakelandOrlando Sentinel
Train carrying molten sulfur derails in FloridaMinneapolis Star Tribune
Train carrying molten sulfur derails in LakelandFOX 10 News Phoenix
WESH Orlando
all 29 news articles »
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12:18 PM 11/27/2017 – Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill

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Flynns Turkish Delight: How, Why, and When He Reversed His Policy Positions on Turkey
Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up – Business Insider
Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn – Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme – The Daily Dot
Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia – The UTD Mercury
Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks
Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library – MyAJC
Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Polk County, ‘shelter in place’ order lifted – WFLA
FBI failed to notify US officials about Russian hackers’ efforts to break into personal Gmail accounts – New York Daily News
Time Inc. Sells Itself to Meredith Corp., Backed by Koch Brothers – New York Times
Police: 2 injured after gunfire rings out in Galleria at Crystal Run mall – News 12 Westchester
Hope Hicks: A witness to Trump’s rise – CNN
Carly Fiorina Slams Donald Trump, Lawmakers For Politicizing Sexual Misconduct – HuffPost
Added to the Storms Toll, Guilt and Heartache for Puerto Ricans Who Fled
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This Is How We Beat Putin’s Attacks on Our Democracy – Newsweek

 

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Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill
 


The Hill
Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal
The Hill
News that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller has Trump critics virtually hyperventilating with excitement. Indeed, the prospect of flipping Flynn has led some to all but declare the end of the 
Flynn as cooperator poses danger to TrumpThe Daily World all 104

 
A Split From Trump Indicates That Flynn Is Moving to Cooperate With MuellerNew York Timesall 108 news articles »

Flynns Turkish Delight: How, Why, and When He Reversed His Policy Positions on Turkey
 

Many commentators anticipate that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely indict retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn in part for the former National Security Advisors previously undisclosed work as a foreign agent of Turkey. Muellers team has reportedly obtained enough evidence to indict Flynn and his son, according to an NBC News report earlier this month.

There is no way to tell, based on current reporting, whether that body of indictable evidence, includes the two alleged meetings in Sept. and Dec. 2016 where Flynn may have discussed a plot to forcibly remove U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, or initiate legal proceedings against him, in exchange for $15 million. But in considering Flynns case, it is important to keep track of how he changed from a relatively hardline position against the government of Turkey to public positions in favor of Ankara. Important questions for legal liability and moral responsibility include whether Flynns conflict of interest and efforts in favor of Turkey continued past the election and into his time in office.

Engaging in pro-Turkish government dealings was a major change in Flynns position on Turkey. In July 2016, Flynn gave a speech supporting the military coup against the Turkish government, specifically citing the countrys move toward Islamism under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the militarys secular orientation. And previously, while serving as DIA Director under the Obama administration, Flynn says he alerted White House officials to Turkeys indifference toward ISIS growth in Syria.

What explains why Flynn changed his position on Turkey and why did he persist in pro-Turkish positions after his firms contract to work on behalf of the Turkish government purportedly ended?

I. Flynns initial anti-Erdoğan, anti-Islamist public positions, and his later The Hill Op-Ed Reversal

War Against Cunning Radical Islamists Tweet (Nov. 16, 2015)Flynn has publicly spoken against what he views as a global threat of radical Islamism, which, according to his view, also implicated Erdoğans pro-Islamist government at one point. He tweeted in November 2015:

We are facing violent, but very serious and cunning radical Islamists. We can be war weary when we win. If we lose, we have nothing.

General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 16, 2015

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Flynn Expresses Concerns on Turkeys Indifference to ISIS to Sy Hersh (January 2016)Flynn seemed to view Turkeys pro-Islamist attitudes as leading to the countrys indifference to ISIS growing next door. In January 2016, he told Seymour Hersh in a New Yorker interview:

If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballisticWe understood Isiss long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.

He added that the Obama administration gave enormous pushback with respect to the DIAs reporting on ISIS growth in Syria, including Turkeys alleged indifference: I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.

Flynn Tweets that Fear of Muslims is Rational (Feb. 27. 2016)In line with his prior statements, Flynn tweeted in Feb. 2016 that fear of Muslims was rational:

Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions https://t.co/NLIfKFD9lU

General Flynn (@GenFlynn) February 27, 2016

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Flynn Lauds the Anti-Erdogan Coup at ACT! For America Speech (July 15, 2016)On July 15, 2016, Flynn gave a speech at the Cleveland meeting of ACT! For America. The organization is an advocacy group that opposes what it calls Islamofascism, which Brigitte Gabriel, the groups founder, believes comes from one source: The Koran. Flynn began his remarks by expressing support for the military-led coup détat in Turkey:

[The Turkish military] has been just excised for many years by what, what really became a secular country, meaning a sort of, regular sort of nation-state, and then began to move toward Islamism. This is Turkey under Erdoğan, who is actually very close to President Obama.

So, Im going to be very fascinated to see what happens, because if they, the military succeeds, then one of the things that came out of the military tonight, theyre about plus eight hours from here, so its probably about I dont know, three-four oclock in the morning there. One of the things the military immediately said is:We recognize our responsibilities with NATO, we recognize our responsibilities with the United Nations, we want to make sure that the world knows, we are, we want to be seen as a secular nation. This is the military.

[Applause]

So, yeah, I think that is worth clapping for.

New York Times Notes Flynn and Trump Share Islamophobic Outlook and Flynns Influence on the Campaign (November 2016)The New York Times post-election profile of Flynn noted his anti-Islamist credentials throughout the campaign:

[Trump and Flynn] have both at times crossed the line into outright Islamophobia.

[Trump and Flynn] both exhibit a loose relationship with facts: General Flynn, for instance, has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not).

As an adviser, General Flynn has already proved to be a powerful influence on Mr. Trump, convincing the president-elect that the United States is in a world war with Islamist militants and must work with any willing allies in the fight, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Flynn Supports Erdoğan Governments Goals in the Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 08, 2016)On Election Day 2016, The Hill published an op-ed by Flynn titled, Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support. The op-ed criticized the Obama administration for not being friendly enough toward Erdoğans government and portrayed Gülen as a cleric who portrays himself as a moderate, but he is in fact a radical Islamist.

It compares Gülen to the founders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and labels him Turkeys equivalent of Bin Laden:

To professionals in the intelligence community, the stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gülens statements in the tradition of Qutb and al Bana. Gülens vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network. From Turkeys point of view, Washington is harboring Turkeys Osama bin Laden.

It also ties Gülen to the Clinton Foundation:

[F]unding seems to be no problem for Gülens network. Hired attorneys work to keep the lucrative government source of income for Gülen and his network going. Influential charities such as Cosmos Foundation continue their support for Gülens charter schools.

Incidentally, Cosmos Foundation is a major donor to Clinton Foundation. No wonder Bill Clinton calls Mullah Gülen his friend.

And concludes:

We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognize Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkeys perspective. What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort while running 160 charter schools funded by the Turkish taxpayers?

The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.

When Flynns op-ed came out, Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who hired Flynns firm, told the New York Times: This is not a guy who would be influenced by a contract. He wrote what he believes.

Al Monitors Turkey columnist Mustafa Akyol also told the paper of the warm reception Flynns op-ed had inside the government of Turkey: You would expect to see [an Islamophobia] concern here, but quite the contrary: Flynn is quite a respected figure now in government circles, just because he wrote that Gülen should be extradited to Turkey.

He added: [Flynns op-ed] was greeted with great happiness here, adding that Erdoğan supporters thought: Finally, somebody in America who understands us.

In late Nov., Alptekin denied that either Erdoğan or the Turkish government paid for Flynns op-ed, telling The Independent that the idea was preposterous, noting that the op-ed also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that Erdogan had sometimes supported. He contended that Inovos contract with Flynn Intel Group was not about representing the position of the Turkish government, and Alptekin said that he was not affiliated with the Turkish government.

Flynn has a strong anti-Islamist streak, and yet he went from criticizing Turkeys relatively pro-Islamist government and supporting the coup against Erdoğan, to publicly advocating for Gülens removal to face justice for the coup in Turkey. What changed between these two eventsthe coup and the op-edto cause Flynn to switch positions on Turkey?

II. A likely motive: lucrative lobbying contracts, and how Flynns private business activities may have affected his public positions

Flynn Intel Group Signs Contract with Inovo BV (Aug. 2016)In early August 2016, Flynn Intel Group was approached by Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council, a Turkish economic relations board run by an appointee of Prs Erdoğan. Alptekin proposed that Flynn work on a project repairing Turkeys image in the United States with Alptekins Netherlands-based firm Inovo BVwork to be performed by Flynns firm over 90 days in exchange for $600,000. Flynn agreed.

Though Flynn later conceded in his belated filing that the Inovo work could be construed to have principally helped the Republic of Turkey, Flynn opted not to file this work with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) database until strongly encouraged to do so by the Justice Department. FARA requires lobbyists whose work directly or indirectly benefits a foreign government to file as agents of a foreign power. The Flynn firm would likely assert that because the Inovo work benefitted a business and not a foreign nation, the firm could instead file with Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, and it did so in Sept. 2016.

Flynn Meets with Turkish Ministers Alongside Woolsey in New York (Sept. 21, 2016)On September 21, Flynn met in New York with the Turkish foreign minister and energy ministers (the latter is also Erdoğans son-in-law), alongside former CIA Director James Woolsey and a former FBI agent, according to Woolseys account of the deliberations. Woolsey later told the Wall Street Journal that the meeting discussed a plot to remove Turkish cleric Gülen from the United States and take him to Turkey.

According to a report by the far-right news site The Daily Caller, one month after the Sept. 2016 meeting between Flynn and Turkish ministers in New York, Flynn attended an event with Halil Mutlu, former director of the Turken Foundation, a U.S. charity focused on Turkish issues, and President Erdoğans cousin. (Readers should note: The Daily Caller generally in general has a far-right ideological lens, and it has been criticized for having a white nationalist problem in recent months.)

Flynn Intel Group Lobbies Congress on Inovos Behalf (Sept.Oct. 2016)After signing the contract with Inovo BV, Flynns Intel Group began lobbying Congress on Inovos behalf, though Flynn himself did not participate in the lobbying. Flynns Sept. 2016 Lobbying Disclosure Act forms reveal that Robert Kelley, Flynns lawyer and a former Chief Counsel to a House subcommittee, managed the lobbying portion of the Inovo contract.

According to the FARA registration, in Oct. 2016, VP Bijan R. Kian met twice with Miles Taylor, National Security Advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee, to discuss Flynn Intel Groups work for Inovo and research related to Turkey and Gülen. According to a Daily Caller source, at the second meeting, Kian and Inovo representatives discussed Gülen with Taylor, and what they called his shady Gülen Movement Schools. The source added that House committee staff were not receptive to Kians approach, and that Flynn was not present for the meeting. Beyond this Congressional outreach, the FARA registration also notes that Flynns firm  oversaw a PR firm SGR LLCs outreach to an Arkansas state government official with respect to the Inovo work.

The AP reported that as part of the Taylor meeting, Flynn Intel Group staff suggested that Congress hold hearings about Gülen.

At the time of the filing, Alptekin told the AP: I disagree with the filingIt would be different if I was working for the government of Turkey, but I am not taking directions from anyone in the government. He said the filings were a response to political pressure.

Flynn Groups VP Meets Alptekin Prior to The Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 2, 2016)According to an in-depth profile of Flynn by The New Yorkers Nicholas Schmidle, on November 2, 2016, Alptekin privately met Flynn Intel Group VP Bijan R. Kian and other corporate officers at the firms offices in Alexandria, Va. Alptekin, believing that Trump was likely to lose the election, emphasized that, We have to generate something to show Turkey how successful we can beWhat success can we show them now?

As Schmidle points out, Flynns op-ed in The Hill was published a week later.

Flynn and Alptekin Statement to the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 17, 2016)Flynn told the Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 17 statement that he would end his relationship with his firm if offered to serve in the Trump administration. He said: If I return to government service, my relationship with my company will be severed in accordance with the policy announced by President-elect Trump. Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin tells the Journal that he hired Flynn to advise him on the U.S.-Turkish security relationship, and more generally, to improve U.S.-Turkish relations.

WH Cabinet Secretarys Post-Election Investigation into FlynnsThe Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 19, 2016)On Nov. 19, the day after Trump appointed Flynn as his National Security Adviser, lawyer Bill McGinley, who later became White House Cabinet Secretary, called Kian and others to investigate the Flynn op-ed. A source told The New Yorker:

Some people seemed skeptical as to whether Flynn had really woken up the day before the election and felt compelled to write an op-ed defending ErdoğanMcGinley wanted to know if Turkish government dollars touched that op-ed.

Kian reportedly told McGinley that Flynn wrote the op-ed entirely on his own, and that it was unrelated to his work for Alptekin.

However, the Flynn groups FARA filing noted that in October and early November, Flynn developed the op-ed based partly based on research done for the Inovo work, and that a draft was shared with Inovo before publication. Further, SGR LLC, a public relations firm Flynn Intel Group hired as part of the Inovo contract, helped Flynn place The Hill op-ed.

Second Meeting with Turkish officials on Alleged Gülen Plot in New York (Dec. 2016)Muellers investigation is reportedly looking into whether, during a second alleged meeting between Flynn and Turkish government representatives in mid-Dec. 2016, participants discussed a plan for Flynn and Flynn Jr. to remove Gülen in exchange for up to $15 million dollars.  It is also reportedly looking into whether they discussed a separate plan to free Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab. The Wall Street Journal reported that the alleged meeting took place in mid-December at the 21 Club in New York, and the discussion considered forcibly removing Mr. Gülen from the U.S. on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali.

If the December meeting were to be confirmed, even if the more sensational allegations about the content of the meeting were not established, it could contradict Flynn Intel Groups filing statements, which state that the Flynn firms contract with Inovo terminated in November 2016, and that is when Flynns paid work that benefited the Turkish government ended. Intentional false statements on a FARA form are a felony.

Flynn Tells Susan Rice Well Take it From Here on Raqqa Campaign (Jan. 10, 2017)On Jan. 10, outgoing National Security Adviser Susan Rice presented Flynn a plan to imminently take over the Islamic States capital in Raqqa, Syria, according to the Washington Post. The plan involved arming Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Syria, and Obama administration officials believed they had little time left to move forward with the operation.

The Post noted that Turkeys Erdoğan had resisted their overtures to fight the Islamic State more robustly, leading in part to the U.S. plan to rely on the Kurds:

In contrast to Obama, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not see the Islamic State as his countrys No. 1 threat. In private meetings with senior U.S. officials in 2014, Erdoğan said the Kurds were his top concern and that removing Assad ranked second, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Erdoğan has long been upset by the U.S. support for Syrian Kurds, which he considers part of a terrorist group that threatens Turkeys national security.

According to the Post, Flynn responded to Rice:

Dont approve itWell make the decision.

McClatchy reported that it is not known if Flynn consulted other administration officials before telling Rice to hold off on the decision, or whether Flynns decision was approved by a higher-ranking official such as Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis.

Raqqa Plan is Dead on Arrival When Presented to Trump Officials (Jan. 17, 2017)

When the plan was turned over to the Trump administration on Jan. 17, per Flynns request, the Postreported that it was dead on arrival. According to McClatchy, Some members of Congress, in private conversations, have even used the word treason to describe Flynns intervention with Rice. And while there is no reporting whether Flynn advised Trump to hold off on the Raqqa assault, media outlets have noted that Trump only approved the plan weeks after he had fired Flynn.

Flynn, Turkish FM Meet over Breakfast at Trump Hotel (Jan. 18, 2017)McClatchy reported that Flynn met Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu over breakfast on Jan. 18 to discuss U.S.-Turkish interests. It was later reported by Business Insider that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was also present at the closed-door meeting at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. Pro-government Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported at the time of the breakfast that the meeting was a first direct reachout between the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan administration and the incoming Donald Trump administration. An aide to Cavusoglu told the paper that that Çavuşoğlu was the only foreign leader at the breakfast and the topics on the U.S.-Turkish agenda were discussed by the attendees. Cavusoglu would later attend Trumps inauguration.

Met w/General Flynn,who will assume the position of National Security Advisor, and other officials at a working breakfast in Washington D.C.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) January 18, 2017

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

President Trumps Call with Erdogan (Feb. 7, 2017)On Trumps first call with Erdoğan, the pair agreed to engage in joint action against ISIS positions in Syria, according to two sources in Erdoğans office, Reuters reported. They added that Erdoğan urged Trump not to support the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Al-Monitor reported based that a senior Turkish official said that Erdoğan drew attention to the close ties between the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Turkish-based Kurdish group. Likewise, Reuters added that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be in Turkey on Feb. 9 to discuss security issues with Turkish officials.

* * *

Considering the nature of Flynns pre- and alleged post-election work on behalf of the Turkish government, it appears that the money paid to him as part of the Inovo contract may have played a decisive role in changing his position on Turkey. The extent of his reversal would have negatively implicated U.S. national security interests if it figured into his response to Susan Rice on the operation to retake Raqqa, the Islamic States so-called capital. But why would Flynn remain motivated by pecuniary interests once he was named to be national security advisor and then served in the administration? Perhaps it was not a financial interest at that point. Perhaps it was a case of a persons judgment being clouded, convincing themselves that they believe in a new policy outlook to reduce the cognitive dissonance that would otherwise persist. Another explanation is a more illicit one. If Flynn and his son were still interested in mid-December in being personally paid $15 million by Turkey, theres reason to think Flynn would not have dropped such interests going forward on other policies favorable to Turkey. The allegations reported in the Wall Street Journal and NBC News involving the mid-December meeting certainly raise this specter. The available information in the public domain does not provide a sufficient basis to reach any firm conclusion. It will be up to Muellers investigation and others to tell.

Read on Just Security »

Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up – Business Insider
 


Business Insider
Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up
Business Insider
Sebastian Gorka, the former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said he always carries two pistols, a tourniquet, and a copy of the US Constitution. In a recent interview, Gorka shared his wide-ranging collection of guns, including AK rifles and more »

Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn – Brooklyn Daily Eagle
 

Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
THE LEDE: Happy Monday, Brooklyn! A photographer captures historic battles with toy soldiers, gentrification affects the mob, and we have the best places in the borough to get $1 dollar oysters. Plus, we try metal yoga, the parents of an NYC terror  

Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme – The Daily Dot
 


The Daily Dot
Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme
The Daily Dot
Not only did they misstate the number of pistols Gorka carries every day (it’s only one!), the site compares Trump winning to a movie about Russia invading the United States. Which is maybe a metaphor you want to, you know, shy away from these days. 

Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia – The UTD Mercury
 

Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia
The UTD Mercury
Perhaps the more compelling question, however, is the possible effect that this investigation will have on the Presidency and whether Donald Trump himself could be pressed with criminal charges. Peinhardt said he believes that, with a majority  

Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A breakthrough in U.N.-backed Syria peace talks in Geneva this week seems hardly more likely than in seven earlier rounds as President Bashar al-Assad pushes for total military victory and his opponents stick by their demand he leave power.

Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library – MyAJC
 


MyAJC
Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library
MyAJC
The president’s son had reportedly been promised damaging information on the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, but he later said that Veselnitskaya began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. Browder knows  

 Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News

Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Polk County, ‘shelter in place’ order lifted – WFLA
 


WFLA
Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Polk County, ‘shelter in place’ order lifted
WFLA
POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) A train carrying molten sulfur derailed in Polk County early Monday morning, deputies say. Several agencies are at the scene of the derailment near Lakeland, near the intersection of Galloway Road and Kathleen Road.
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FBI failed to notify US officials about Russian hackers’ efforts to break into personal Gmail accounts – New York Daily News
 


New York Daily News
FBI failed to notify US officials about Russian hackers’ efforts to break into personal Gmail accounts
New York Daily News
The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has found.
FBI didn’t tell US officials as Russian hackers hunted their emailsNew York Post
Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 pm ESTWTOP
FBI silent as US officials targeted by Russian hackersBoston Herald
The Hill –Engadget –Daily Beast –Mediaite
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Time Inc. Sells Itself to Meredith Corp., Backed by Koch Brothers – New York Times
 


New York Times
Time Inc. Sells Itself to Meredith Corp., Backed by Koch Brothers
New York Times
A long chapter in media history came to an unlikely close on Sunday night. The Meredith Corporation the Iowa-based owner of Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens and AllRecipes agreed to purchase Time Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at …
Meredith Corp. Acquires Time Inc. in $2.8 Billion Koch Brothers-Backed DealVariety
Meredith to buy Time with help from the Koch brothers, but says they won’t have any influenceTechCrunch
Meredith nears Koch-backed deal to buy US publisher Time in Koch-backed dealReuters Time: sourcesReuters
Meredith Corp. to acquire Time Inc. for $2.8 billion

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Time Inc. to be acquired by company backed by Koch brothersThe Hill
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Police: 2 injured after gunfire rings out in Galleria at Crystal Run mall – News 12 Westchester
 


News 12 Westchester
Police: 2 injured after gunfire rings out in Galleria at Crystal Run mall
News 12 Westchester
Police say two people were injured after gunfire rang out inside the Galleria at Crystal Run mall Sunday afternoon, prompting an evacuation. They say a man discharged a handgun on the mall’s second floor near the American Eagle store around 3 p.m. …and more »

Hope Hicks: A witness to Trump’s rise – CNN
 


CNN
Hope Hicks: A witness to Trump’s rise
CNN
Washington (CNN) It took Hope Hicks seven years to go from college graduate to White House communications director. She spent about five of those years working for the Trumps, developing a strong relationship with the future US President and his family  
A Split From Trump Indicates That Flynn Is Moving to Cooperate With MuellerNew York Times
all 83 
Schiff mocks Trump for lauding himself by listing ex-staffers under scrutiny in Mueller probeThe Hill
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Washington TimesPress of Atlantic CityMediaiteMetro US
all 75
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Carly Fiorina Slams Donald Trump, Lawmakers For Politicizing Sexual Misconduct – HuffPost
 


HuffPost
Carly Fiorina Slams Donald Trump, Lawmakers For Politicizing Sexual Misconduct
HuffPost
CarlyFiorina on President Trump siding with @MooreSenate : Well that’s politics isn’t it Christhat’s why when politicians talk about this it doesn’t have a lot of credibilityDonald Trump cares about a vote in the Senate, no more no less 
Graham rues Trump’s support for Roy MooreCNN
President Trump attacks Roy Moore’s opponent: ‘Jones would be a disaster’USA TODAY
Trump blasts Roy Moore’s foePolitico
TIME –AL.com –The Independent
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Added to the Storms Toll, Guilt and Heartache for Puerto Ricans Who Fled

Natalia Roman and Francois Franceschini left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and are living with his aunt in the Bronx. The couple, who recently enjoyed a boat ride in Central Park, said they are making plans to stay on the mainland.
Twitter Says Blocking a New York Times Account Was an Error

The Timess international account was locked after a tweet on the Canadian prime minister. The account was down for nearly a day.
Merkel’s CDU agrees to pursue grand coalition in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – Leaders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party agreed on Sunday to pursue a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD) to break the political deadlock in Europe’s biggest economy.

4:52 PM 11/26/2017 fbi criticism Google Search

Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks fbi criticism – Google Search Rutherford Institute – Wikipedia Rutherford Institute – Google Search Jared Kushners Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink ‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations – Raw Story Top firearms cops … Continue reading“4:52 PM 11/26/2017 – fbi criticism – Google Search”
В Черное море вошел ракетный эсминец ВМС США – Интерфакс
 


Интерфакс
В Черное море вошел ракетный эсминец ВМС США
Интерфакс
Москва. 26 ноября. INTERFAX.RU – Американский ракетный эсминец “Джеймс Уильямс” (USS James Williams DDG95) в воскресенье вошел в акваторию Черного моря, сообщили стамбульские информационные порталы, публикующие фотографии его прохождения через пролив Босфор.
В Черное море вошел американский эсминец с крылатыми ракетамиРБК
Американский эсминец вошел в Черное море, сообщили СМИРИА Новости
Ракетный эсминец ВМС США вошел в Черное мореВзгляд
Телеканал “Звезда” –Радиостанция ЭХО МОСКВЫ (Блог) –Российский Диалог –НТВ.Ru
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Собчак: Путин это “альфа-фигура”, он обязательно будет участвовать в выборах – Life.ru
 


Life.ru
Собчак: Путин это “альфа-фигура”, он обязательно будет участвовать в выборах
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Отвечая на вопрос ведущего в ходе встречи со своими сторонниками в британском Оксфорде, телеведущая и потенциальный участник президентской кампании 2018 года Ксения Собчак заявила о том, что абсолютно уверена в том, что действующий президент Владимир Путин будет … 
Титов назвал Путина бесспорным фаворитом на выборахВести.Ru
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 и другие »

The Talk of Turkey? A Politically Charged Trial in New York

Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman accused of conspiracy to violate United States sanctions against Iran, is scheduled to go on trial in New York on Monday.
ФБР год умалчивало об атаках Fancy Bear – Росбалт.RU
 


Росбалт.RU
ФБР год умалчивало об атаках Fancy Bear
Росбалт.RU
Федеральное бюро расследований (ФБР) США по меньшей мере не оповещало власти страны о попытках взлома их данных хакерской группировкой Fancy Bears. Об этом узнало, проведя расследование, агентство The Associated Press. Бюро знало, что хакеры пытались взломать 80 …
ФБР около года не сообщало американским властям о кибератаках Fancy BearКоммерсантъ Приложения
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Fatal crash on I-80 shuts down eastbound lanes – SFGate
 


SFGate
Fatal crash on I-80 shuts down eastbound lanes
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The eastbound lanes on Interstate 80 were shut down for several hours in Emeryville on Sunday due to a fatal crash, authorities said. The collision was reported about 9:40 a.m. west of Powell Street at the Berkeley Curve, according to the California 
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NBC New York
Shoppers Evacuated From NY Mall Amid Reports of Shooting: State Police
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Shoppers are being evacuated from a mall in Orange County amid reports of a shooting on the first weekend of the busy holiday shopping season, state police say. The shooting was reported at an American Eagle store in the Galleria at Crystal Run in …
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This Is How We Beat Putin’s Attacks on Our Democracy – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
This Is How We Beat Putin’s Attacks on Our Democracy
Newsweek
Yes, the Cold War is over. We won. Or at least that’s what Francis Fukuyama thought when he impetuously authored The End of History. But, apparently, neo-cons in America, who danced jigs atop copies of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto , forgot to inform 
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6:20 AM 11/27/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Trumps Russian Schizophrenia – POLITICO Magazine | Year’s end unlikely to bring end to Russia probe in Congress | Washington – AP

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Гройсман прилетел в Грузию обсудить перспективы сотрудничества (фото)
Merkel’s CDU agrees to pursue grand coalition in Germany
4:52 PM 11/26/2017 fbi criticism Google Search
fbi criticism – Google Search
Rutherford Institute – Wikipedia
Rutherford Institute – Google Search
Jared Kushners Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink
‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations – Raw Story
Top firearms cops suspended in crime and misconduct probe – Scottish Daily Record
FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails – Washington Post
It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov Johnson’s Russia List
How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents
NEWSWATCH: Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ pic.twitter.com/wfdbXX4H7s
Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide Johnson’s Russia List
US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscows Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets Johnson’s Russia List
Russian President Signs ‘Foreign Agents’ Media Legislation
Beware the Russian Elephant – Google Search
Beware the Russian Elephant – The American Interest
Trump moves to put his own stamp on Voice of America
BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing – Google Search
Russia law on media not based on reciprocity
John F. Lansing – BBG
Statement from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing Regarding the Russian

 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Year’s end unlikely to bring end to Russia probe in Congress | Washington
 

mikenova shared this story from www.bozemandailychronicle.com – RSS Results in ap_news/washington of type article.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Republicans are hoping lawmakers will soon wrap up investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election that have dragged on for most of the year. But with new details in the probe emerging almost daily, that seems unlikely.

Three congressional committees are investigating Russian interference and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was in any way involved. The panels have obtained thousands of pages of documents from Trump’s campaign and other officials, and have done dozens of interviews.

The probes are separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller can prosecute for criminal activity, while Congress can only lay out findings, publicize any perceived wrongdoing and pass legislation to try to keep problems from happening again. If any committee finds evidence of criminal activity, it must refer the matter to Mueller.

All three committees have focused on a June 2016 meeting that Trump campaign officials held in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer and others. They are also looking into outreach by several other Russians to the campaign, including involvement of George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty this month to lying to the FBI as part of Mueller’s probe. New threads continue to emerge, such as a recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was messaging with WikiLeaks, the website that leaked emails from top Democratic officials during the campaign.

A look at the committees that are investigating, and the status of their work when they return from their Thanksgiving break:

SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

The Senate intelligence panel, which has been the most bipartisan in its approach, has interviewed more than 100 people, including most of those attending the Trump Tower meeting. Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and the panel’s top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, have said they plan to bring in Donald Trump Jr. The president’s son was one of several Trump campaign officials in the meeting.

The committee has looked broadly at the issue of interference, and called in executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google, pushing them to take steps to prevent Russian election meddling on their platforms. Warner told The Associated Press the committee is still looking for more information from those companies, which were initially reluctant to cooperate.

Burr has said that he wants to wrap up the probe by early spring, when congressional primaries begin. While there are many areas of bipartisan agreement on the meddling, it’s unclear whether all members will agree to the final report. It’s also unclear if the report will make a strong statement on whether the Trump campaign colluded in any way with Russia.

Warner said it’s plain there were “unprecedented contacts” as Russians reached out to the Trump campaign but what’s not established is collusion.

HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

In the House, Democrats hope the intelligence committee can remain focused on the Russia probe as the panel’s GOP chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, and other Republicans have launched new, separate investigations into Democrat Hillary Clinton and a uranium deal during President Barack Obama’s administration. Nunes stepped back from the Russia probe in April after criticism that he was too close to the White House, but remains chairman of the committee.

Some Republicans on the panel have grown restless with the probe, saying it has amounted to a fishing expedition and pushing for it to end. Still, the committee has continued to interview dozens of witnesses involved with the Trump campaign, among them several participants in the 2016 meeting. On Nov. 30, the panel will interview Attorney General Jeff Sessions behind closed doors. Lawmakers are interested in Sessions’ knowledge about interactions between Trump campaign aides and Russians, and also his own contacts.

The top Democrat on the panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, told AP the committee has multiple interviews before the New Year. He said the Republican investigations into Clinton and Obama could be “an enormous time drain,” but they have not yet fully organized. He says the committee must be thorough and he doesn’t believe the Russia investigation should end soon.

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

The Senate Judiciary Committee has also divided along partisan lines as Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, haven’t agreed on some interviews and subpoenas. But as in the House, the panel has proceeded anyway, conducting bipartisan, closed-door interviews with several people who were in the 2016 meeting.

The panel is showing recent signs that it is aggressively pursuing the investigation. The committee is the only one to have interviewed Trump Jr. And just before the Thanksgiving break, it sent Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a letter asking him to be more forthcoming with the committee.

Grassley has been focused on a law that requires foreign agents to register and the firing of James Comey as FBI director. Along with the other committees, Judiciary is also looking into a dossier of allegations about Trump’s own connections to Russia.

It’s not known if the panel will issue a final report, or if its probe will conclude before next year’s elections.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trumps Russian Schizophrenia – POLITICO Magazine
 

mikenova shared this story .

The United States should send arms to Ukraine to help in its “self-defense” against Russian aggression. It should hold Russia accountable for its illegal “occupation” of territory there, and push for international peacekeepers. Russian President Vladimir Putin bears the blame for this conflict in Europe, and he will be the “decision maker” on whether to end it too.

At least, that’s according to Ambassador Kurt Volker, the Trump administration’s special envoy charged with ending the war in Ukraine. If this sounds like a perfectly reasonable American policy toward Russia, that’s because it is, and more or less one that either party would pursue. But of course, there’s just one big problem with this: It almost certainly does not fully reflect what the president of the United States actually thinks.

Story Continued Below

In a new interview for The Global Politico, his first extensive one with a U.S. publication since taking on the post this summer, Volker talked at length about just how troubled relations are with Russia these days despite Trump’s hoped-for reconciliation, how the several rounds of talks he’s held with a top Putin adviser have not yet made any progress, and what it’s like to be a special envoy for a secretary of state who’s vowed to get rid of them.

Overall, he said, prospects for peace are so dim he reckons it’s very likely that active fighting will continue a year from now in Ukraine, which has been embroiled in military conflict since 2014, when Russia forcibly annexed the Crimean Peninsula, the first such takeover since World War II in Europe, and fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine—leading to international condemnation and, ultimately, sanctions that Putin is desperate to lift.

How likely?

“I’d say it’s at least 80 percent,” Volker told me. “There’s a chance that there won’t be, but the most likely scenario is that this continues,” he added grimly, noting that more than 10,000 people in eastern Ukraine have been killed since the fighting broke out.

To spend time with Volker is to confront the essential schizophrenia of the Trump administration’s Russia policy. His version is what just about any U.S. administration’s view of Russia and the Ukraine conflict would have been. And it’s pretty much consistent with that of others inside the Trump administration with whom I’ve spoken recently: deeply critical of Putin and certainly not swayed by him; concerned that little or no progress can be made on key issues and that the bottom in U.S.-Russia relations has not yet been reached after this past year’s election hacking, tit-for-tat spying accusations, diplomatic expulsions and consulate closure.

Volker said Trump himself is now on board with this version of his Russia policy, if only because Putin’s moves have been so confrontational. “Russia brings it on,” Volker said. “That’s what the president always says: We would like to get along with Russia. But what Russia is doing makes it really hard.”

But of course, this Russia policy is still not exactly Donald Trump’s Russia policy.

Reminders of that come just about every day. Just a few hours before my interview with Volker, in fact, Trump had made a point of calling Putin, and the official readout of their more than hour-long conversation portrayed it as a wide-ranging discussion of Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, ISIS, the Middle East and Central Asia. The decision to speak with Putin drew literal groans from some administration Russia hands, given that it came the day after Putin had been photographed physically embracing the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in Sochi, and Trump’s statement about the phone call made no mention of any criticism toward Putin’s backing of the Syrian regime or his recent decision to veto a U.N. investigation of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

That did not seem accidental to anyone who has followed Trump’s dealings with the Russian leader. Despite the entreaties of his staff and their views – like Volker’s – that tend to be far more skeptical of the Kremlin strongman, Trump has never fully given up on his hopes of a friendly new era of Russian-American relations. On his recent trip to Asia, he even reignited the controversy over Putin’s 2016 intervention in the U.S. presidential election, suggesting he believed Putin’s denials – over the consistent findings of the U.S. intelligence community. (The White House later clarified, unconvincingly, that Trump hadn’t meant to suggest any such thing.)

All of which puts Kurt Volker right in the unlikely center of the most contentious foreign policy fight of the Trump presidency.

***

There’s no question that Volker, 52, is an unusual figure to have joined the Trump administration. His previous job was executive director of the institute started by Senator John McCain, perhaps Trump’s harshest foreign policy critic within his party and a Russia hawk of long standing who has been particularly pointed about Trump’s praise for Putin. And before that Volker served in a key role working with U.S. allies to counter Russian aggression as ambassador to NATO for President George W. Bush, whose foreign policy Trump spent much of the 2016 campaign bashing as expensive and inept.

Still, Volker pointedly did not sign the letter from a vast array of mainstream Republican national security types disavowing Trump during that campaign. A few of those who did sign it tell me they are glad he is on the case and running what appears to be his own version of a Ukraine policy they can live with; their only question is whether he, and the others who share his views within Trump’s administration, actually matter when it comes to making policy.

Volker also has the questionable distinction of being the only special envoy actually named to the job by Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has come to office vowing to reorganize the department and eliminate dozens of separate special envoy positions like the one he just created for Volker. And in fact, Volker told me he has only taken on the post in a temporary, volunteer capacity, and that it was necessary because of the “particularly difficult transition” that left the Trump State Department without any political appointee in place to deal with the Russians on Ukraine.

When we spoke, Volker had just returned the previous week from a face-to-face meeting in Belgrade with a top Putin adviser, Vladislav Surkov. The session was their third, but Volker was blunt about what it accomplished: nothing. The talks, he said, were a “step back,” with Surkov reverting to Russia’s initial proposal in September to deploy U.N. peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine along the line currently separating Ukrainian government forces and the Russia-backed separatists. Surkov told reporters after the meeting that Volker had presented 29 separate paragraphs to the Russians and that Surkov had agreed with just three of them.

Either way, the meeting’s failure speaks not only to the difficulty of making peace in Ukraine but also to the troubled state of the current U.S.-Russian relationship.

Just before the latest Ukraine talks, in fact, a new irritant had arisen: the failed effort to get Trump and Putin together during Trump’s recent Asia trip. I had been told that the Russians were angry that Trump and Putin had not held a formal bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the recent summit meeting of world leaders in Asia and that the Trump White House had stumbled in both directions, first rejecting the idea of a meeting between the two leaders and then, when it was clear the Russians were unhappy about it, proposing at the last minute to add a Trump-Putin session only to have the peeved Russians reject it. In fact, the ill-timed Trump phone call with Putin right before my Volker interview had been in part a U.S. effort to smooth over those Russian concerns.

In the interview, Volker seemed to agree that could have been part of the reason for why Surkov had seemed so intransigent at their latest session. “Our third meeting, as you said, was a step back,” Volker told me. “They went back to their original proposal again. I don’t know what the next step after this is. It could be that that happened for completely other reasons having nothing to do with Ukraine, just where we are in our U.S.-Russian relationship. It could have had to do with the lack of a bilateral meeting between President Putin and President Trump.”

In general, I found Volker hardly puffing up the prospects of a grand peace settlement with Putin. He said he found Surkov a useful interlocutor, in that the Kremlin adviser clearly has the president’s ear and comes in his capacity as a “political operative” talking about a fundamentally political decision, not as some powerless functionary from the Russian Foreign Ministry. And he said there are “glimmers” of hope suggesting Putin might actually be ready to find a way out of the “impasse” in eastern Ukraine, given that fighting has more or less stalled and Putin faces tough U.S. and European sanctions because of the Ukraine incursion.

Volker insisted Putin could turn that around by cutting a deal now to end hostilities and bring in outside peacekeepers.

“By invading the country and taking part of the territory, they’ve produced a more nationalist, more Western-oriented, more unified Ukraine than ever existed before,” Volker argued. “That’s exactly the opposite of what they wanted to produce, so it gives them a reason to say, ‘Well, we’re not getting out of this what we wanted. It’s costing us a lot to do it, both in a very specific sense of a military operation and civilian administration,’ but it’s also costing in terms of sanctions, their reputation, their relationship with the European Union, their relationship with the United States. So they might have an interest in resolving this.”

Still, to hear Volker’s account is not exactly to listen to a conflict on the brink of resolution. Not only is Trump’s personal commitment to pushing Putin and forging peace in Ukraine highly suspect, but Putin himself would seem to have little reason to take such action now – especially with his own reelection looming in March of 2018, and the conflict with Ukraine inevitably something that needs to be portrayed as a Russian success.

Then there’s the equally complicated U.S. side of the equation.

Volker and others inside the administration are clearly having to sell their mission to Trump too and not just the Russians. Their case to Trump goes something like this: You say you want better relations with Moscow. Well, that’s not possible with the Russians still supporting a shooting war in Ukraine and subject to tough U.S. and European sanctions as a result. “If we are going to have any improvement in U.S.-Russia relations,” Volker said, “we don’t want to stay where we are. We’d like for this to be more constructive,” and for that to be the case “we’re going to have to see progress in Ukraine.”

Volker says Trump gets it. “I know, having heard from the president directly on this, he wants to do this. He wants to make peace; he wants to see this resolved; he wants to see Ukraine get its territory back. It’s crystal clear.”

The most pressing current issue that could well blow up Volker’s talks – and further erode Trump’s hopes of improved relations with Putin – are weapons sales to Ukraine. After months of internal debates, both the Pentagon and the State Department have reportedly recommended Trump approve a $47 million package of arms, including Javelin anti-tank missiles that Ukraine has heavily lobbied for. But Trump himself has not yet signed off and many Russia watchers believe he remains reluctant to do so; with the Russian presidential election looming and the fate of the Ukraine talks with Surkov still unclear, it’s possible the U.S. may not act on the recommendation anytime soon. “There isn’t any decision here,” Volker said.

Several sources have told me Volker has been a strong advocate for the arms sales, and he made clear in our interview that he supports the idea.

“There isn’t anything compelling that I can see as to why Ukraine should be a special case, why we wouldn’t do that, especially when they’re actively trying to defend their territory,” Volker said, before walking through “the arguments that people made in the past” and which “I don’t think hold a lot of water,” from the prospect that sending advanced U.S. arms to the Ukrainians could actually backfire and cause an escalation in the fighting to the idea that it would embolden Ukrainians to keep fighting and refuse to come to the negotiating table.

I asked one veteran Russia hand, a former senior State Department official, what to think about those arguments. Volker, the former official said, is on the right side. But Trump – as far as anyone can tell – is not.

And what does that do to Volker’s credibility with the Russians he’s supposed to be negotiating with?

You don’t have to be a veteran Kremlinologist to know the answer to that one.

Susan B. Glasser is POLITICO’s chief international affairs columnist. Her new podcast, The Global Politico, comes out Mondays. Subscribe here. Follow her on Twitter @sbg1.

Гройсман прилетел в Грузию обсудить перспективы сотрудничества (фото)
 

mikenova shared this story from Информационное агентство УНИАН.

Гройсман начал официальный визит в Грузию / фото УНИАНГройсман начал официальный визит в Грузию / фото УНИАН

Грузия входит в топ-20 перспективных рынков для украинского экспорта, и страны планируют увеличить товарооборот до 1 млрд долл. в год.

Читайте такжеЕвропарламент поддержал новый формат “Восточного партнерства” для Украины, Грузии и Молдовы

Об этом сообщила пресс-служба правительства со ссылкой на слова премьер-министра Владимира Гройсмана во время встречи с главой правительства Грузии Георгием Квирикашвили.

Он отметил, что если в прошлом году товарооборот между государствами составил почти 500 млн долл, то за 7 месяцев текущего года превысил 345 млн долл.

«Сейчас мы ставим задачу довести товарооборот до 1 млрд долл, – сказал Гройсман. – Среди перспективных направлений сотрудничества – агросектор, туризм, энергетика”.

Гройсман также отметил, что одним из наиболее перспективных направлений работы является развитие транзитного потенциала двух государств. Он подчеркнул, что сочетание географических и транспортных возможностей Киева и Тбилиси может и должно стать важной составляющей международной инициативы «Новый шелковый путь».

Глава правительства Грузии поддержал украинского премьера.

“Новый шелковый путь невозможен без Украины. У вас есть выход в Европейский Союз, у нас – в Китай, с которым действует режим беспошлинной торговли”, – сказал Квирикашвили.

В этом контексте Гройсман напомнил, что в сентябре текущего года в Одессе подписан Меморандум о сотрудничестве между «Укрзализныцей», «Грузинской железной дорогой» и «Азербайджанской железной дорогой», который будет способствовать развитию железнодорожных маршрутов через Кавказ в направлении Украины и Евросоюза и в обратном направлении.

«У нас есть предварительные договоренности о создании совместных транспортных структур, тарифной политике. Надо ускорять этот процесс. Уверен, что наши переговоры дадут дополнительный импульс этому процессу», – отметил Гройсман.

Он также предложил грузинской стороне продумать возможности привлечения украинских компаний к реализации инфраструктурных проектов в рамках проекта «Нового шелкового пути».

Как сообщал УНИАН, премьер-министр Украины Владимир Гройсман 27 ноября начал официальный двухдневный визит в Грузию. Глава правительства проведет переговоры с Президентом Грузии Георгием Маргвелашвили, премьер-министром Грузии Георгием Квирикашвили, председателем парламента Грузии Иракли Кобахидзе, примет участие в экономическом форуме «Один пояс – один путь».

Merkel’s CDU agrees to pursue grand coalition in Germany
 

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Leaders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party agreed on Sunday to pursue a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD) to break the political deadlock in Europe’s biggest economy.

4:52 PM 11/26/2017 fbi criticism Google Search
 

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Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks fbi criticism – Google Search Rutherford Institute – Wikipedia Rutherford Institute – Google Search Jared Kushners Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink ‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations – Raw Story Top firearms cops … Continue reading“4:52 PM 11/26/2017 – fbi criticism – Google Search”

fbi criticism – Google Search
 

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Russian hacking: FBI failed to tell US officials their email was targeted

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The FBI has faced continuing criticism over its handling of Fancy Bear. … The FBI failed to notify scores of US officials that Russian hackers …

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Review of FBI’s action during election coming early next year

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Washington (CNN) A watchdog review of how the FBI handled its investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on track for …

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Former Waynesboro man writes book about what it’s really like in the …

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Larsh alleged that many current and former FBI agents have told him they … to include more intelligence-gathering following criticism after 9/11.

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‘Very Frustrated’ Trump Becomes Top Critic of Law Enforcement

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He spent Friday berating the Justice Department and F.B.I. for not investigating his political opponents. He then turned to the military justice …
Rutherford Institute – Wikipedia
 

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The Rutherford Institute is a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, US dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights. The organization was founded in 1982 by John W. Whitehead, who continued to be its president as of 2015.[1] The Rutherford Institute offers free legal services to those who have had their rights threatened or violated. The Rutherford Institute has a network of affiliate attorneys across the United States and funds its efforts through donations. In addition to its offer of legal services, the organization offers free educational materials for those interested in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Rutherford Institute also publishes a weekly commentary by Whitehead which is published in hundreds of newspapers and web publications, including The Huffington Post and LewRockwell.com.[2]

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Rutherford Institute Taking Up Albemarle County Case in US …

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The Rutherford Institute is getting involved in a 2013 case out of Albemarle County that has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawyers …

Opinion/Commentary: Don’t just give thanks — pay it forward

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John W. Whitehead is president and founder of the Albemarle County-based Rutherford Institute, a civil-liberties organization, and author of …

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Courts accused of expanding Prohibition-era search rule

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Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute and author of “Battlefield America: The War on the American …

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Rutherford Institute founder responds to rally violence

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The Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead said he doesn’t regret taking the case and notes that it’s about defending the First Amendment …
Jared Kushners Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink
 

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Mr. Kelly disputed that in an interview on Friday. “There was honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka,” Mr. Kelly said. He also said the Office of American Innovation, run by Mr. Kushner, had demonstrated its value, noting that he had recently sent some members of its team to Puerto Rico to report back on conditions on the hurricane-ravaged island.

And in an email forwarded by the White House, the president said on Friday that he still relied on Mr. Kushner. “Jared is working very hard on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the last thing I would ever do is get in the way of that possibility,” Mr. Trump said. “Jared has been very effective since the earliest days of the campaign and the same is true today. He understood the movement then and has been helpful implementing the agenda the American people voted for since.”

Determining anyone’s place in Mr. Trump’s orbit, of course, is a hazardous exercise. The president’s affections are fickle, and he tends to keep relationships open even if they are strained. At one point, Mr. Trump is said to depend less on Mr. Kushner, and the next he checks in with his son-in-law about the Roy Moore Senate race in Alabama to gauge his own potential reactions, according to one person familiar with the conversations.

But even Mr. Kushner’s supporters acknowledged that his role had evolved. In their view, that reflected his success, not failure. By helping to push out Mr. Priebus and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist and acerbic nationalist infighter, they said, Mr. Kushner helped stabilize the White House, allowing him to focus on his own projects rather than feeling compelled to weigh in on so many different issues.

In the first months of the administration, Mr. Kushner typically would spend five or six hours a day with the president in what his advocates described as playing defense, making sure others were not gaming the system by persuading Mr. Trump to make decisions without consulting others who had interest in the issues. Now under a less freewheeling system, Mr. Kushner and other aides are expected to stay in their own lanes.

Critics take a less generous view. Rick Tyler, a Republican strategist, said the “magical powers” ascribed to Mr. Kushner early on seemed to have faded. “As long as Jared was seen and not heard, he was able to play the role of wonder boy,” he said. “But now he is no longer seen, and we are only left to wonder about the boy whose father-in-law placed the hope of unraveling the world’s most intractable public policy puzzles from peace in the Middle East to reinventing government” in him.

Speculation about Mr. Kushner’s role comes as the long shadow of the special counsel’s investigation darkens the White House. Investigators have asked witnesses about Mr. Kushner’s foreign policy role during the campaign and the presidential transition, including his involvement in a debate over a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, as The Wall Street Journal has reported.

One person familiar with the questioning, who asked not to be identified discussing the investigation, said the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, appeared to be exploring Mr. Kushner’s role as part of his examination of Michael T. Flynn, who went on to become Mr. Trump’s national security adviser before being forced out after 24 days for not being forthcoming about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.

Mr. Kushner has yet to be interviewed by Mr. Mueller’s team. Worried that his conversations might have been picked up on a government-authorized wiretap or perhaps by Russia or China, Mr. Kushner has become increasingly cautious about how he communicates, even with friends.

The scrutiny by Mr. Mueller upended Mr. Kushner’s initial hopes, according to some colleagues. Mr. Kushner expressed relief over Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May, assuming that the prosecutor’s inquiry would effectively freeze congressional investigations and therefore free up the White House to pursue its legislative agenda.

To some, that suggested he did not get it, that he did not fully grasp how the special counsel would scrutinize every single thing he had done in business, during the transition and during the campaign. And the emergence of Mr. Mueller has not halted the House or Senate inquiries; Mr. Kushner has since been interviewed by congressional investigators.

Some friends said Mr. Kushner and his wife were at times so discouraged by their brief White House careers — and their shrinking social circle — that they would leap at a chance to gracefully return to New York. At one point this fall, a scenario circulated in which Ms. Trump could replace Nikki R. Haley as ambassador to the United Nations if Ms. Haley replaced Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. (Aides to Mr. Trump said they never heard that discussed internally, and the latest betting now has Ms. Haley staying put.)

Others in the couple’s orbit, however, said that whatever their frustrations, they have found more satisfaction in recent months now that Mr. Bannon is no longer inside the West Wing fighting them, and that they are likelier to stay for the foreseeable future. Mr. Kushner’s father, Charles, has urged his son to hang on, arguing that otherwise he will become the fall guy for White House mistakes, according to someone in Jared Kushner’s circle.

“Jared’s role working for President Trump is just as important as it was Day 1, only now he doesn’t have to worry about babysitting others,” said Jason Miller, a campaign adviser who remains close to the White House. “His focus was always supposed to be the president’s big-picture, long-term projects, and now Jared can work on those uninterrupted.”

New York is not exactly a trouble-free zone for Mr. Kushner either. He would presumably resume running his family’s real estate empire, now struggling to save its crown jewel, a Manhattan skyscraper. The building at 666 Fifth Avenue is awash in $1.2 billion in debt, and a key business partner recently declared that a redevelopment plan created by Mr. Kushner before he joined the government is unfeasible.

Mr. Kushner arrived in the White House with an expansive portfolio. In addition to Middle East peace, he served as the president’s intermediary with MexicoChina and the Arab world. He traveled to Iraqwearing a flak vest over his blue blazer and button-down shirt. His high profile generated magazine covers and late-night comic riffs. Even some inside the West Wing began referring to him as “the secretary of state.”

In the early months, Mr. Kushner brokered a tense telephone call between Mr. Trump and Mexico’s president and arranged a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping of China that transformed his father-in-law’s approach toward Beijing. He organized Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip with an opening stop in Saudi Arabia, where the president aligned himself with Sunni Arabs confronting Iran.

Mr. Kushner has since stepped back from the China relationship. He joined Mr. Trump in Beijing this month but did not accompany the president on his entire Asia trip. He remains the point person with Saudi Arabia, where he recently visited and talked late into the night with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is also working with the team renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and developing a plan to overhaul re-entry into American society for prisoners.

But Mr. Kushner, new to government, has found it confounding at times. And Mr. Priebus’s early question about the mandate of Mr. Kushner’s innovation office was never fully resolved. Sometimes called “Jared’s island” by White House aides, it has remained a jumble of seemingly random projects, ranging from addressing the nation’s opioid crisis and infrastructure needs to trying to modernize the government’s antiquated computer systems.

Corporate leaders were recruited to give input at round-table discussions organized by Mr. Kushner. But by last summer, some executives were fed up with talk-a-thons. They complained to Gary D. Cohn, the president’s national economic adviser, who in turn told Mr. Kushner’s aides not to convene another listening session unless it had a compelling purpose and produced results.

Two White House councils of business leaders were disbanded in August after an exodus of members upset with the president’s failure to more forcefully condemn violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.

Other initiatives backed by Mr. Kushner have proved more fruitful. Congress appears to be on the verge of creating a $500 million fund to help agencies modernize outdated information technology systems, some of which are at least 40 years old.

With Mr. Kushner’s support, the Department of Veterans Affairs also developed a plan to erase a longstanding electronic gap between the medical records of service members and veterans that has hurt patient care for years.

But Mr. Kushner’s push for technological advances is hobbled by a lack of permanent officials to carry out policy changes at the agency level. The White House has failed to name chief information officers for nine major agencies, including Defense, Treasury and Homeland Security. Even the federal chief information officer is only an acting official, and the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy is largely a ghost town.

The innovation office is providing political cover and “a push from the top,” said Max Stier, the president of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the effectiveness of the government. “But at the end of the day, what the White House does doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get implemented at the agencies where the real action takes place.”

Continue reading the main story

‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations – Raw Story
 

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Raw Story
‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations
Raw Story
Former CIA agent Phil Mudd explained to CNN’s Jim Acosta that the timing of revelations from special counsel Robert Mueller has been sequenced to increase pressure during each subsequent phase of the investigation. ‘Let’s focus on not only what he can …
Top firearms cops suspended in crime and misconduct probe – Scottish Daily Record
 

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Scottish Daily Record
Top firearms cops suspended in crime and misconduct probe
Scottish Daily Record
He was responsible for operational support, custody and criminal justice, which included firearms and counter terrorism. Both Kinnell and Glass reported to him on a daily basis. The new complaints are not linked to the separate PIRC investigations into …and more »
FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails – Washington Post
 

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FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails
Washington Post
EDITOR’S NOTE _ One in a series of stories on the findings of an Associated Press investigation of the Russian hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not and more »
It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov Johnson’s Russia List
 

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Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commonsMOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

“It is not yet unclear whether Putin will run for the re-election. As you know, he did not say anything about it,” Peskov told reporters, replying to a question as to whether the possibility of involving Alexei Kudrin in writing the economic section of the president’s electoral program was discussed at Putin’s meeting with him.

Peskov described this question as inappropriate in this regard.

Related

Interfax: Putin has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2018 – PeskovJanuary 29, 2016In “Politics, Government, Protests, Elections”

Issue of Putin’s nomination as candidate in 2018 presidential elections not yet on Kremlin agenda – PeskovJuly 6, 2017In “Politics, Government, Protests, Elections”

Denying Putin Wedding, Peskov Says Leave the President AloneSeptember 26, 2013In “Politics, Government, Protests, Elections”

How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents
 

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November 13, 2017

Flowers were laid at the site where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in Moscow on February 27, 2015. Nemtsov was a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (steven_n_maher, Flickr)

On August 2, 2017, US President Donald J. Trump

signedH.R. 3364, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),

 into law. Section 241 of the Act calls on “the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State” to submit to Congress a detailed report—with the option of making part of it classified—including “identification of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” Section 241 mandates that the report address the relation of these persons with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and identify their corruption, estimated net worth, and known sources of income. The section also poses similar questions about Russian parastatal entities of diffuse ownership but serving the state. The Kremlin Report, as it might be termed, is due on or around February 1, 2018.

Section 241 has generated intense interest, even anxiety, within Moscow’s political and business classes, more so than any other section of H.R. 3364. It is clear why.

Speculation is abundant in Moscow

 about who among political figures, oligarchs, and others may be listed, and what that might mean for them, for Russia’s ruling political and business elite in general, and for Russia’s already beleaguered standing in the West.

These anxieties suggest that the Kremlin Report can serve US, Western, and genuine Russian interests in two ways:

 First, it can signal to the current Russian political and business classes that, as individuals, their interests would best be served by maintaining a distance from the Putin regime. It also may indicate that these groups would be better off if the Russian leadership refrained from starting new aggressive wars or attacking the political system of the United States and other democratic countries, as it did during the 2016 US presidential campaign and subsequent elections throughout Europe.

 Second, the Kremlin Report’s identification of corrupt individuals close to the Putin regime may expose them to increased scrutiny and potential action by those US government institutions enforcing US laws and regulations beyond sanctions, such as measures against money laundering and other financial malfeasance, e.g., Treasury’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), among others. That process could in turn lead to future actions to freeze the assets of corrupt individuals and, at the right point, legal processes to return ill-gotten assets to the Russian people.

Metrics for Identifying Senior Political Figures, Oligarchs, and Parastatal Entities Close to the Kremlin

Senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities constitute what we may call members of the Russian ruling elite. Section 241 stipulates several metrics to be used in the identification of them. We note two:

  • Closeness of senior political figures, business people, or parastatal entities to the Russian political regime. This could be measured a number of ways, including involvement (open or hidden) in the Putin regime’s aggressive (or even illegal) actions. Such actions include Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as its military aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, including the purported annexation of Crimea; responsibility for bombing civilians in Chechnya and Syria; and murders of Yuriy Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei Magnitsky, Boris Nemtsov, and other opposition politicians, civil activists, journalists, and lawyers.
  • Involvement of political figures, businessmen, and parastatal entities close to the Putin regime in corruption that allowed them to enrich themselves at the expense of the Russian people. As Section 241 suggests, the Russian political elite has developed a sophisticated system of kleptocracy in which public assets are controlled (and regularly plundered) by a small circle of people close to Putin.

We, therefore, suggest that in compiling the report, the US administration apply the following three criteria:

  1. The person named is close to the Russian regime, measured by his or her involvement in planning, ordering, preparing, financing, executing, or otherwise supporting the aggressive, corrupt, or criminal actions noted above; or
  2. The person’s fortune has been made through corrupt commercial operations with the Putin regime for the sake of personal gain; or
  3. The person has held assets for Putin in what appears to be a corrupt fashion, even if he or she personally is not involved in the actions mentioned above, or his or her known personal fortune is not great enough to be considered of “oligarch” scale.


Earned wealth in itself should not be regarded as objectionable.

 Russians who have pursued the American (indeed, universal) dream of personal enrichment through outstanding entrepreneurship should be appreciated, not penalized. Further, formal rank is not dispositive. As the Panama Papers have revealed, often the big crooks are little known and have no official rank.

It is critical that persons are named in the Kremlin Report only on the basis of reliable information. Fortunately, the Kremlin political class, Putin, his friends, and their businesses have been extensively studied by credible researchers. The sources are many and the possibilities to cross check them for quality are ample. Plenty of disinformation exists, but with sufficient knowledge of how to assess sources, disinformation can be disregarded.

What Categories Should the Kremlin Report Include?  

Applying the criteria discussed above, the senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities in the Russian Federation linked to the Kremlin—those people intended to be listed in the Kremlin Report—are best grouped into seven categories:

 1.     Senior political figures, parastatal entities, or business people responsible for aggressive, corrupt, or criminal operations within and outside the Russian Federation as noted above.

  • We note a sub-category of oligarchs and others working with the Kremlin to advance aggressive foreign actions, such as organizing mercenary forces in Ukraine and Syria, or advancing cyberwarfare/disinformation, and recommend their inclusion;

2.     Putin’s close circle of contemporary friends from St. Petersburg, with whom he has done business since the early 1990s. They are commonly called his cronies and are well identified.  The US government and European Union (EU) have already designated a number of them in the Ukraine-related sanctions;

3.     Golden children.  To a considerable extent, cronies have transferred their wealth to their children, who in some cases have become top executives. These people appear to have become full-fledged cronies in their own right;

 4.     Personal friends of Putin who hold considerable wealth for him. Some have been revealed by the Panama Papers and Russian

Forbe

s;

 5.     The popularly-acclaimed “oligarchs,” who are big businessmen profiting greatly from direct business with the Kremlin. Some of these individuals are co-owners of companies with cronies. Others have operated as fronts for Kremlin leaders.

  • Note:  Russia’s wealthy businessmen should not be presumed to warrant listing simply by virtue of their wealth.  Many made their fortunes before Putin and, to survive, are forced to pay large tributes to the Kremlin. Including such persons in the Kremlin Report would not appear consistent with the intent of Section 241;

6.     Corrupt state enterprise managers who owe their positions to their close personal relations with Putin and utilize their positions for gross larceny; and

7.     The relevant parastatal entities that are companies owned by the people noted in category six.

Preparation of the Kremlin Report will be a labor-intensive project.  It is worth the effort because, among other things, it would demonstrate that whatever speculation exists to the contrary, the Trump administration, like previous US administrations, will respond with determination to counter Russian aggression against the United States, our European allies, and Russia’s neighbors—Ukraine and Georgia. Thus far, the administration appears to be taking Russia sanctions seriously, judging by the guidance for CAATSA implementation, which it recently issued.  It is our hope, and expectation, that the administration will show the requisite commitment to preparation of a strong, credible report as called for by CAATSA’s Section 241.

Anders Åslund is a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. He is a leading specialist on economic policy in Russia, Ukraine, and East Europe. He has served as an economic adviser to several governments, notably the government of Russia (1991-94), and he has published fourteen books, including three about Russia’s economic reforms. 
Daniel Fried is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. In the course of his forty-year Foreign Service career, he played a key role in designing and implementing American policy in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ambassador Fried helped lead the West’s response to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine starting in 2014: as State Department coordinator for sanctions policy, he crafted US sanctions against Russia, the largest US sanctions program to date, and negotiated the imposition of similar sanctions by Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
Andrei Illarionov is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. From 2000 to December 2005, he was the chief economic adviser of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Andrei Piontkovsky is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute and senior adviser to the Free Russia Foundation. He is the author of several best-selling books on the Putin presidency in Russia, including, Another Look Into Putin’s Soul.

NEWSWATCH: Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ pic.twitter.com/wfdbXX4H7s
 

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are…http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ … 

Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide Johnson’s Russia List
 

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Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Regina Smyth, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Law, Indiana University – November 16, 2017)

How can scholars make significant contributions to policy making? Reflecting on a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to strengthen regional studies training at U.S. universities, Indiana University’s Russian Studies Workshop organized a roundtable at last week’s ASEEES conference in Chicago that featured four outstanding scholar/practitioners. Panel chairperson, Michael Kimmage, professor of history at Catholic University and a former member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Policy Planning for Russia and Eurasia, prompted participants to identify how scholarly and think tank expertise has proven valuable in policy formation, and to highlight critical gaps in regional studies knowledge.

Panelists approached the questions by identifying Russian regional studies as a community of specialists that spans universities and colleges, government, think tanks, NGOs, the private sector, and foundations. Each speaker stressed the crucial role for networks, skills, and practices that can transcend the boundaries that divide the community and enable broad discussion aimed at more effective, fact-based policy decisions. Panelists unanimously agreed that academics’ greatest contribution to policy relevance lies in their core missions as university and college faculty: deep, original research and training of the next generation of regional specialists.

Dr. Celeste Wallander, president and CEO of the U.S. Russia Foundation and former special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia/Eurasia on the National Security Council, argued that university-based scholars make a profound contribution by preparing the next generation of informed and engaged students at all levels. At the same time, Dr. Wallander emphasized the need for universities to do a better job training students. The urgent demands of global events means that strong prior preparation is essential for effective decision-making as there is little time to stop and consider new research. She stressed that policymakers must have the skills to assess causality with fact-based analysis, and to communicate clearly in sharply argued, brief texts. While each panelist underlined this call for effective writing, Dr. Kimmage added that precision is also essential for oral communication, noting that fifteen-minutes constitutes a long presentation in the government context.

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff, deputy director and senior fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and former adviser on U.S.-Russian relations at the U.S. Department of State, reiterated the critical role of university-based training and research in accumulating expertise. He argued that academics can do more to bridge the gap between the scholarly and policy communities. In general, he said, academic work often lacks influence because it is not accessible. He echoed the panel’s call for clearly articulated ideas, stressing that academic work permeates the policy community when it is closely tied to real world puzzles and challenges.

Dr. Mankoff argued that think tanks play an important role in forging networks of D.C-based scholars that inform the international policy community and shift decision-making frames. Echoing Dr. Wallander’s emphasis on the importance of university-based research, he argued that think tanks are distinct from universities in two ways. First, the boundaries between think tanks and government are porous. Ideas generated in think tanks filter into public discussions through personal networks, reports, media appearances, and participation in seminars and conferences. Yet, similar to the dynamics in government, research in think tanks is driven by the urgency of responding to real world problems and demonstrating clear influence in the policy process. The scholarly community works on a different logic, creating lasting knowledge that becomes relevant as real-world challenges shift. With effective communication and deep networks, these are complementary paths to improve policy decisions, inform foreign audiences, and increase popular understanding of Russia beyond the headlines.

Dr. John Slocum, visiting scholar at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs, added the perspective of a long-time program director at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For nearly a century, foundations worked to develop regional studies expertise. Initially, they funded policy-relevant research without creating direct linkages across the policy-university divide. This model shifted with the demise of the Soviet Union. Under David Hamburg, former president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, foundations increasingly brought scholarly attention to critical global problems with the goal of identifying informed policy solutions. They also became more pro-active in constructing platforms for information exchange, interaction, and networks linking specialists in government and academia.

Dr. Slocum emphasized that foundations’ conceptions of policy influence is not limited to U.S. audiences. Foundations endeavor to increase global understanding of U.S. foreign policy goals and policy processes. Foundations also build global policy expertise by providing technical assistance, awarding individual grants, establishing graduate training programs and think tanks, supporting scholarly networks, and promoting outlets, such as journals, to showcase debates.

Dr. Kimmage brought the discussion back to substantive concerns. He identified three critical areas of research that are under-represented in the scholarly community: Russian military affairs and public support for the military, the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in national policy and society, and the complexities of Russian regional politics. Dr. Mankoff added that lack of understanding of U.S. foreign policy beyond the Beltway has emerged as a national security problem that needs to be addressed by a partnership across the regional studies community to educate U.S. citizens how to navigate the complexity of the globalized, international community.

Discussion among these scholars with experience across different regional studies community stressed the importance of continuing to increase the expert influence to produce more effective, fact-based policy decisions. The discussion highlighted steps to meet this challenge:

  • Understand the needs and challenges that face different groups of specialists within the broader regional studies community.
  • Continue to support university-based research and the tools to communicate findings to non-academic specialists.
  • Strengthen student training in essential skills, especially causal inference and clear and focused communication.
  • Sustain networks that link regional studies specialists at universities with those in government, NGOs, think tanks, foundations, and the private sector.
  • Construct a broader definition of relevance that draws on comprehensive research and looks beyond Washington, D.C., to inform non-specialists, and especially ordinary citizens, in the United States, Europe, and the broader global audience.

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[featured image is file photo]

US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscows Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets Johnson’s Russia List
 

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File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil(Voice of America – VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2017)

[Video and article also appeared at voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-to-russia-attacks-on-us-funded-agencies/4125489.html]

The U.S. ambassador to Russia has attacked Moscow’s move toward forcing nine United States government-funded news operations to register as “foreign agents” as “a reach beyond” what the U.S. government did in requiring the Kremlin-funded RT television network to register as such in the United States.

Ambassador Jon Huntsman said during a visit Friday to the Moscow bureau of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the Russian reaction is not “reciprocal at all” and Moscow’s move toward regulation of the news agencies, if it is implemented, would make “it virtually impossible for them to operate” in Russia.

WATCH: Ambassador Jon Huntsman

He said the eight-decade-old Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) under which RT has registered as a foreign agent is aimed at promoting transparency, but does not restrict the television network’s operation in the United States.

Russia’s lower house of parliament approved amendments Wednesday to expand a 2012 law that targets non-governmental organizations, including foreign media. A declaration as a foreign agent would require foreign media to regularly disclose their objectives, full details of finances, funding sources and staffing.

Media outlets also may be required to disclose on their social platforms and internet sites visible in Russia that they are “foreign agents.” The amendments also would allow the extrajudicial blocking of websites the Kremlin considers undesirable.

The Russian Justice Ministry said Thursday it had notified the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and seven separate regional outlets active in Russia they could be affected.

In response to a question from VOA, Huntsman said “It isn’t at all similar to what we’re doing under FARA – it’s a reach beyond. And, we just think the principles of free media, in any free society and democracy, are absolutely critical to our strength, health, and well-being. Freedom of speech is part of that. So, that’s why I care about the issue. That’s why we in the embassy care about the issue. And, it’s why we’re going to follow the work that is going on in the Duma and the legislation that is being drafted, very very carefully, because we’re concerned about it.”

The Justice Ministry said the new requirements in Russia were likely to become law “in the near future.”

VOA Director Amanda Bennett said last week that if Russia imposes the new restrictions, “We can’t say at this time what effect this will have on our news-gathering operations within Russia. All we can say is that Voice of America is, by law, an independent, unbiased, fact-based news organization, and we remain committed to those principles.”

RFE/RL President Tom Kent said until the legislation becomes law, “we do not know how the Ministry of Justice will use this law in the context of our work.”

Kent said unlike Sputnik and other Russian media operating in the United States, U.S. media outlets operating in Russia do not have access to cable television and radio frequencies.

“Russian media in the U.S. are distributing their programs on American cable television. Sputnik has its own radio frequency in Washington. This means that even at the moment there is no equality,” he said.

Serious blow to freedom

The speaker of Russia’s lower house, the Duma, said last week that foreign-funded media outlets that refused to register as foreign agents under the proposed legislation would be prohibited from operating in the country.

However, since the law’s language is so broad, it potentially could be used to target any foreign media group, especially if it is in conflict with the Kremlin. “We are watching carefully… to see whether it is passed and how it is implemented,” said Maria Olson, a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

The Russian amendments, which Amnesty International said would inflict a “serious blow” to media freedom in Russia if they become law, were approved in response to a U.S. accusation that RT executed a Russian-mandated influence campaign on U.S. citizens during the 2016 presidential election, a charge the media channel denies.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in early 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed a campaign to undermine American democracy and help real estate mogul Donald Trump win the presidency. A criminal investigation of the interference is underway in the United States, as are numerous congressional probes.

The foreign registration amendments must next be approved by the Russian Senate and then signed into law by Putin.

RT, which is funded by the Kremlin to provide Russia’s perspective on global issues, confirmed last week it met the U.S. Justice Department’s deadline by registering as a foreign agent in the United States.

VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report.

[featured image is file photo from another occasion]

Russian President Signs ‘Foreign Agents’ Media Legislation
 

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation that empowers the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents” and impose sanctions against them.

The new law was published on Russia’s official legal information Internet portal on Saturday.

The measure passed the Federation Council, the upper chamber of parliament, Wednesday in a unanimous 154-0 vote, with one abstention.

And it was unanimously approved in the third and final reading in the lower house, the State Duma, on November 15. Within hours, the Justice Ministry sent warnings to several Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news services.

The letters did not specify what potential restrictions they could face, but lawmakers have said designated media could be subjected to detailed financial-reporting requirements and required to label published material as coming from a foreign agent.

RFE/RL was among several media outlets that Russian officials warned could be labeled a foreign agent, a list that also included the Voice of America (VOA), CNN, and Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

In response to news that Putin signed the law, RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said, “We cannot speculate at this time on the effect of the new law, since no news organization has yet been specifically named as a ‘foreign agent’ and the restrictions to be imposed on such ‘agents’ have not been announced.”

“We remain committed to continuing our journalistic work, in the interests of providing accurate and objective news to our Russian-speaking audiences,” he added.

John Lansing, director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees VOA and RFE/RL, said in a statement Saturday, “RFE/RL, VOA, and the other networks of U.S. international media will remain committed to our mission, stipulated by U.S. law, to provide accurate, objective, and comprehensive journalism and other content to our global audiences, including in the Russian Federation.

“We will study carefully all communications we may receive from Russian authorities concerning our operations. While we will not speculate as to the effect that any new steps by the Russian government will have on our journalistic work, any characterization of such steps as reciprocity for U.S. actions severely distorts reality,” Lansing said.

The international rights organization Amnesty International has said the legislation would deal a “serious blow” to media freedom in Russia, although Russian officials have said it would not apply to domestic media.

Russian officials have called the new legislation a “symmetrical response” to what they describe as U.S. pressure on Russian media. On November 13, the Russian state-funded television channel RT registered in the United States under a decades-old law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Lansing, however, denied Moscow’s actions were “symmetrical.” “Russian media, including RT and Sputnik, are free to operate in the United States and can be, and are, carried by U.S. cable television outlets and FM radio stations. However, U.S international media, including VOA and RFE/RL, are banned from television and radio in Russia,” he said in a statement released Saturday.

The U.S. Justice Department required RT to register in the wake of a January finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that RT and Russia’s Sputnik news agency spread disinformation as part of a Russian-government effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a November 15 statement, RFE/RL said the “situation regarding Russian media in the U.S. and U.S. media in Russia remains vastly unequal.”

“RT and Sputnik distribute freely in the U.S., whereas RFE/RL has lost its broadcast affiliates in Russia due to administrative pressures, and has no access to cable,” it said. “RFE/RL reporters are subject to harassment and even physical attack in Russia.”

Visiting the Moscow bureau of RFE/RL and VOA on November 17, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said that the Russian legislation was a “big concern” for the United States and that “the principles of free media in any free society and democracy are absolutely critical for strength and well-being.”

Beware the Russian Elephant – Google Search
 

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Beware the Russian Elephant – The American Interest
 

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Framing the Debate

Beware the Russian ElephantPeter Pomerantsev

As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail.

The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In “Don’t Think of an Elephant” the cognitive linguist George Lakoff defines winning and losing in politics as being about framing issues in a way conducive to your aims. Defining the argument means winning it. If you tell someone not to think of an elephant they will end up thinking of an elephant. “When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame…when you are arguing against the other side, do not use their language. Their language picks out a frame—and it won’t…

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Published on: November 20, 2017

Trump moves to put his own stamp on Voice of America
 

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Recent actions have raised fears that Voice of America could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for President Donald Trump. | Getty

The president dispatches two aides to the broadcasting agency that came under fire over the weekend for its Trump coverage.

By TARA PALMERI

Updated

2017-01-24T07:01-0500

President Donald Trump on Monday dispatched two aides to scope out the studios of Voice of America, heightening concerns among some longtime staffers that Trump may quickly put his stamp on the broadcasting arm that has long pushed U.S. democratic ideals across the world.

The arrival of the two aides – both political operatives from Trump’s campaign – comes after Voice of America received blowback over the weekend for sending out a series of tweets about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claims about inauguration crowd size that looked to some like an endorsement of his false statements. The news outlet later deleted one of the tweets.

Story Continued Below

The concern among some staffers is especially acute because Trump’s administration is getting control over the broadcasting agency just weeks after Congress moved to eliminate the board of directors that had served as an integrity check on the organization, instead consolidating power with a CEO position appointed by the president.

As POLITICO reported last month, that change – along with a prior shift that allows the network to legally reach a U.S. audience — had stoked fears among some agency officials that Voice of America could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for the former reality TV star.

On the first Monday of his administration, Trump, who has flirted with the idea of launching his own TV network, deployed two “transition officials” who will evaluate the managers and studios of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which has an annual budget of $800 million and includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

Trump campaign New Hampshire state director Matthew Ciepielowski and Wisconsin communications director Matthew Schuck will be “temporarily assigned” to the CEO suite at the BBG where they will work with senior management “to ensure an open, transparent and seamless transition of the BBG to the Trump Administration,” according to an email by CEO John F. Lansing to staff obtained by POLITICO.

In a statement to POLITICO on Tuesday, Lansing emphasized the agency’s independence.

“The BBG, including Voice of America and our other four networks, is an independent federal agency that is legally mandated to produce objective, professional and independent journalism designed to engage, inform and connect with people around the world in support of freedom and democracy,” Lansing said. “As is routine for many federal agencies during any presidential transition, yesterday we welcomed the two-person landing team from the Trump administration. We look forward to working with them as we continue to fulfill our mission, and support the independence of our journalists around the world.”

The timing of the Trump aides’ arrival is not necessarily unusual – the Obama administration also sent transition officials to the BBG during his transition in 2009.

But some senior staffers have already expressed reservations about the backgrounds of Trump’s political operatives. Schuck, a 2012 graduate from Montgomery College, was a staff writer for the right-wing website the Daily Surge until April 2015.

“There’s concern among the journalists about what these guys are going to be doing,” said the senior VOA staffer. “People are hanging tight, seeing what will happen.”

A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

Public scrutiny of the broadcasting agency’s articles has already started.

Voice of America director Amanda Bennett explained that she pulled a tweet on VOA’s official account that featured Spicer’s erroneous statement that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” following blowback from the account’s 905,000 followers, some of whom argued the agency shouldn’t be promoting his comments without a fact check.

“Irony is that VOA’s reason for existing was to provide truth to those who lived where the government controlled the press,” tweeted Stuart Stevens, a former advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, in response to the tweet.

Other Twitter followers called the network “pure propaganda” and “embarrassing,” and urged the network to have “self-respect” for tweeting out Spicer’s words, without additional fact-checking.

Bennett also said she temporarily pulled a story about an ethics complaint lodged against the Trump administration because it didn’t have a response from a Trump representative. The story was reposted later with a comment from Trump’s attorney Sheri Dillon.

Bennett said she was not ordered by the Trump administration to pull the story or the tweet.

“Ever since I arrived here in April I have been extremely firm that we need to follow absolutely the best journalistic practices – which include a diligent focus on facts and objectivity,” Bennett told POLITICO in an e-mail. “For the last nine months, we have been routinely pulling stories that do not meet those standards and asking that they be redone, or that additional reporting be done.”

In a phone conversation later on Monday, Bennett added, “I know that everyone is looking to say that we’re being manipulated by the Trump administration, we’re absolutely not.”

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is the largest public diplomacy program by the U.S. government, reaching an audience of 278 million by broadcasting in 100 countries and 61 languages. Voice of America was created in 1942 during World War II to send pro-democracy news across Europe, as it aimed to counter Nazi and Japanese propaganda. The agency has since evolved into a more traditional news operation, while still pushing out the virtues of democracy worldwide.

Early last month, a provision buried into the National Defense Authorization Act called for disbanding the bipartisan board of the BBG, pleasing critics who said the part-time board was ineffective but alarming others who feared an accountability layer was being swept away.

Story Continued Below

A former board member said on Monday that the editorial team may have not received marching orders from the new administration but that they’re aware of the new power of Trump’s team to take over the organization without the firewall of a bipartisan board.

“They’re clearly just trying to stay in stead with their new bosses to keep their jobs,” said the former BBG board member. “If they’re starting to turn this into Pravda before they are even told to.”

The status of the board is in limbo, however, since Obama added a signing statement to the NDAA, saying it was unconstitutional to get rid of the board because it violates his constitutional right of appointment. Another uncertainty is that Lansing can be replaced at any time for a CEO appointed by the president.

At the editorial level, there’s been caution against posting stories that don’t have a response from the Trump administration, according to a senior VOA staffer. “I think there’s going to be more of a focus on making sure that we’re balanced,” the staffer said.

Bennett said she met on Monday with Trump’s representatives, Schuck and Ciepielowski, who she said will not be involved in news decisions.

“I met with them, we gave them a briefing. We’re going to be showing them around,” she said. “If people are concerned, a lot of people have been through transitions before and this is standard procedure. We gave them the briefing book.”

When asked if she had any concerns about their prior jobs, she said, “They are who they are. They are filling a function that is exactly the same as it would be in any administration.”

And Bennett said Voice of America is not changing course under the new administration. “We are trying to do the best journalism we can, and follow the highest journalistic standards is the only way we’re going to operate,” she said.

BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing – Google Search
 

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Story image for BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing from PR Newswire (press release)

Statement from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBGCEO John F …

PR Newswire (press release)11 hours ago
… from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBGCEO John FLansing … under this law, even more restrictions may be placed on the BBG’s …

Story image for BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing from Voice of America

US Broadcasting Exec: We Respond to Russian Propaganda with …

Voice of AmericaSep 14, 2017
US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBGdirector John FLansing … with objective news, Broadcasting Board of Governors CEO John Lansing told a Senate panel. … Lansing detailed BBG efforts to counter Russian disinformation by reaching … WATCH: Lansing on countering Russian propaganda.

Story image for BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing from Politico

Trump moves to put his own stamp on Voice of America

PoliticoJan 23, 2017
Trump campaign New Hampshire state director Matthew Ciepielowski … according to an email by CEO John FLansing to staff obtained by POLITICO. … “The BBG, including Voice of America and our other four networks, is an …

Story image for BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing from RT

Voice of America faces budget cuts, vows to fight ‘Russian …

RTMay 24, 2017
… and uncensored news and information,” BBG CEO John FLansing … In January this year, former Director of National Intelligence James …
Russia law on media not based on reciprocity
 

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The agency that coordinates the US media believes that the new Russian law with respect to classifying foreign-funded media as “foreign agents” is not reciprocity for Washington’s limiting the Russian media—including RT and Sputnik—activities in the US.

US Broadcasting Board of Governors CEO John Lansing noted about the aforesaid in a statement, reported RIA Novosti news agency of Russia.

“While we will not speculate as to the effect that any new steps by the Russian government will have on our journalistic work, any characterization of such steps as reciprocity for U.S. actions severely distorts reality,” the statement reads, in particular.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed a law, under which media receiving funding from abroad can be classified as “foreign agents.”

John F. Lansing – BBG
 

mikenova shared this story from BBG.

John F. Lansing joined the BBG as CEO and Director in September 2015. Lansing’s previous experience includes nine years as President of Scripps Networks, where he is credited with guiding the company to become a leading developer of unique content across various media platforms including television, digital, mobile and publishing.

Most recently, Lansing was President and Chief Executive Officer of Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), a marketing association comprised of 90 of the top U.S. and Canadian cable companies and television programmers. There, Lansing oversaw the development of business strategies and marketing initiatives that position cable television companies for continued growth as they compete with emerging digital content platforms.

Lansing also brings a deep understanding of journalism from roles as an award-winning Photojournalist and Field Producer, Assignment Manager, Managing Editor, and News Director at several television stations earlier in his career.

Last modified: September 12, 2017

Statement from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing Regarding the Russian
 

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RFE/RL, VOA, and the other networks of U.S. international media will remain committed to our mission, stipulated by U.S. law, to provide accurate, objective, and comprehensive journalism and other content to our global audiences, including in the Russian Federation.

We will study carefully all communications we may receive from Russian authorities concerning our operations.  While we will not speculate as to the effect that any new steps by the Russian government will have on our journalistic work, any characterization of such steps as reciprocity for U.S. actions severely distorts reality.  Russian media, including RT and Sputnik, are free to operate in the United States and can be, and are, carried by U.S. cable television outlets and FM radio stations.  However, U.S international media, including VOA and RFE/RL, are banned from television and radio in Russia.

In addition, our journalists on assignment are harassed by Russian authorities and face extensive restrictions on their work.  RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena recently was sentenced by a Russian court for an article he wrote, and contributor Stanislav Asayev is being held by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine.  RFE/RL journalists were knocked down and kicked while on assignment in Russia’s southern region of Krasnodar in March, and VOA correspondent Daniel Schearf has been denied a visa to re-enter Russia.

The BBG would be pleased if the current focus on reciprocity between Russian and American media ends by giving U.S. outlets – including U.S. international media such as VOA and RFE/RL – the same rights and opportunities in Russia that Russian networks have in the United States.

CONTACT: Nasserie Carew, 202-203-4400, publicaffairs@bbg.gov

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/statement-from-broadcasting-board-of-governors-bbg-ceo-john-f-lansing-regarding-the-russian-federations-media-law-300561594.html

SOURCE Broadcasting Board of Governors

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